Consultation Report released on VNI West project

AusNet and the Western Renewables Link (WRL) project team have welcomed the release of the Consultation Report by AEMO calling for stakeholder feedback on the outcomes of the Victoria to New South Wales Interconnector West (VNI West) options analysis, including alternate locations for connecting to Western Renewables Link (WRL). 

VNI West is a proposed high capacity 500 kilovolt (kV) double-circuit overhead transmission line that will run between Victoria and New South Wales. It is not an AusNet project but will connect into AusNet’s WRL.

The Consultation Report identifies a new proposed, preferred option, running from Dinawan in New South Wales via a new terminal station near Kerang, directly to WRL at a new terminal station near Bulgana and seeks feedback on the assessment. A decision on the WRL connection location is expected to be included in the VNI West Project Assessment Conclusions Report (PACR), currently anticipated to be released in May 2023.

AEMO will run a six-week consultation period with communities, Traditional Owners and stakeholders, seeking feedback on the feasibility of the proposed preferred option outlined in the report as well as insights on whether all relevant social and cultural issues have been considered in the analysis.

The Consultation Report can be found here. Consultation is open until 5pm Wednesday 5 April 2023.

The release of the Consultation Report comes on the back of the Victorian Government announcement on 20 February 2023 that it has made an Order under the National Electricity (Victoria) Act 2005 (NEVA) to help fast-track VNI West in recognition of the crucial role it will play in unlocking renewable generation in Victoria and connecting with the New South Wales grid.

The NEVA Order allows for AEMO to undertake an early works program for VNI West and to assess and consult on alternate options, including the VNI West connection point to WRL, to expedite the development and delivery of those projects.

The state government announcement regarding the Ministerial Order under the NEVA can be found here.

AusNet and the WRL project team remain committed to continuing engagement and consultation with landholders on the WRL proposed route and discussing the impact of the latest announcements.

The proposed, preferred option in the Consultation Report does not impact the majority of the proposed route for WRL, but it would result in an increase in capacity of WRL from 220kV to 500kV between the area north of Ballarat and the new terminal station site. ​

If a new terminal station site is confirmed, AusNet will consult with anyone affected by the change.

About the project

The Western Renewables Link is a proposed electricity transmission line that will carry renewable energy from western Victoria to homes across the state and into the National Electricity Market.

The project is critical infrastructure required to unlock the renewable energy potential of western Victoria as a key Renewable Energy Zone and will help to deliver clean and affordable energy to Victorians.

Project updates

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