The Australian Government is making its first landmark transmission agreements under Rewiring the Nation as the transformation of Australia’s electricity grid begins.
VNI West (KerangLink) between Victoria and NSW and Marinus Link between Tasmania and Victoria will unlock renewables and put downward pressure on energy prices.
Low-cost finance from Rewiring the Nation will enable both projects to deliver new transmission lines that will boost economic activity in Victoria and Tasmania and support thousands of jobs.
These projects are national priorities that need to be urgently progressed. They will provide grid support for early coal generator closures, deliver additional power from Snowy 2.0 and give mainland Australian states access to Tasmanian hydro power. They will facilitate the connection of additional new renewable energy, which is the cheapest form of electricity.
Marinus Link will deliver two under-sea transmission cables connecting Tasmania and Victoria. The project will support 1400 jobs in Tasmania and 1400 jobs in Victoria during the construction phase. Marinus Link will provide up to $4.5 billion in positive net market benefits.
Marinus Link previously did not have agreement between governments on how project costs would be met in the event of a positive final investment decision. Low-cost financing from Rewiring the Nation provides a clear pathway to enable the project to proceed.
Alongside VNI West and Marinus Link, up to $1 billion of low-cost loans are available from Rewiring the Nation to eligible Tasmanian Battery of the Nation projects and up to $1.5 billion for Victorian renewable energy zones and offshore wind. Rewiring the Nation finance is also being made available to support the North West Transmission Developments in Tasmania.
Community consultation occurred over recent months in Gippsland for an offshore wind region in the Bass Strait. A region in the Southern Ocean off Portland will also be considered in future.
The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) 2022 Integrated System Plan (ISP) highlighted these major projects as priorities to proceed as urgently as possible. Rewiring the Nation will support implementation of the plan and other projects nationwide that modernise Australia’s electricity grids, increase access to renewable energy, and drive down power prices.
Rewiring the Nation will be implemented through a partnership of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and a new Rewiring the Nation Office in the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.
The Rewiring the Nation Office, AEMO and the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner will work closely together to ensure that local communities that host transmission infrastructure have a voice in the planning process.