Construction of the South Australian component of Project EnergyConnect, the new high-voltage transmission line between South Australia and New South Wales, has been completed.

Project EnergyConnect is the largest transmission project ever delivered by ElectraNet. The transmission line covers 206 kilometres from Robertstown to the SA/NSW state border and includes South Australia’s first 330kV substation at Bundey.

ElectraNet Chief Executive Officer, Simon Emms, said Project EnergyConnect is a transformational project for South Australia and the National Electricity Market.

Project EnergyConnect is the latest in a series of major network projects delivered by ElectraNet in the past five years, essential to enabling South Australia’s clean energy transition and net zero goals.

“The interconnector strengthens South Australia’s position as a leader in the transition to a low-carbon economy and enhances our ability to export our abundance of renewable energy resources,” Simon said.

“As well as unlocking renewable energy developments, it strengthens South Australia’s power grid, and will deliver price savings for customers. Once in full operation the new interconnector is expected to deliver bill savings of $127 for a typical South Australian residential power customer and between $6,000 and $18,000 for business customers.

“Project EnergyConnect is already contributing to South Australia’s clean energy future through new renewable energy developments in excess of 2 gigawatts including wind, solar and batteries that are now proposing to connect to the grid.”

South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining, Tom Koutsantonis said, “I congratulate ElectraNet for completing the South Australian side of Project EnergyConnect.”

“The Malinauskas Government now looks forward to final investment decisions being made by the many renewable energy companies which intend to use this link to the NSW market.

“South Australia has plenty of sun and wind resources which can be harnessed as energy for sale to NSW.

“An alternative to SA’s transmission connection with Victoria should reduce reliability risk and price impacts that might occur if the Victorian line has operational issues.”

Neoen Australia’s CEO, Louis de Sambucy, said the new interconnector was a significant factor in their South Australian investment.

“South Australia is already a world leader in the renewable energy transition, and Project EnergyConnect will play a crucial role in enabling the state to reach its goal of net 100 per cent renewables,” Louis said.

“Neoen currently has over 1 gigawatt of wind generation and battery storage in South Australia in operation or under construction. As a long-term owner-operator, SA’s ongoing energy policy leadership and our deep partnership with ElectraNet have been major factors in our continued investments here.

“Among its numerous other benefits to consumers, Project EnergyConnect will help provide transmission capacity for additional stages of our Goyder Renewables Zone in SA’s Mid North, leveraging the area’s world-class renewable resources and unlocking billions of dollars in investment for South Australia.”

Simon said successful delivery of the SA component on time and within budget was a credit to all involved.

“The engagement with a large number of stakeholders throughout the project’s duration has played an important role in ensuring its successful delivery,” Simon said.

“We would like to thank the Ngadjuri People, the River Murray Mallee Aboriginal Corporation (RMMAC), the First Peoples of the River Murray and Mallee Region 2, the Aboriginal Lands Trust, and the Renmark Paringa and Mid Murray councils for their assistance and support.

“Our transmission line contractor Downer delivered the 384 new transmission towers and associated stringing works and Consolidated Power Projects delivered the new Bundey Substation.

“We also had a large amount of work completed by South Australian and Riverland based businesses including concrete, accommodation, logistics, fuel and staff and equipment hire.

“I would also like to acknowledge the hard work of the ElectraNet project team and the multiple project contractors that delivered the project despite several challenges including weather, equipment and COVID-19.”

Inter-network testing of Stage 1 of the new interconnector is scheduled to begin following construction completion of Stage 1 works on the NSW side by Transgrid by April 2024, with release of up to 150MW of power transfer capability by July 2024, subject to successful testing.

Release of the full transfer capability of up to 800MW is planned for mid-2026, following Stage 2 construction completion in NSW by Transgrid, subject to Stage 2 inter-network testing.

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