ElectraNet has today released a draft report on its investigation of options to support South Australia’s energy transformation.

The report identifies that the construction of a new, high capacity interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales would deliver substantial economic benefits.

Independent modelling by ACIL Allen estimates that annual residential customer bills would reduce by up to about $30 in South Australia and $20 in New South Wales.

ElectraNet Chief Executive, Steve Masters said an interconnector with NSW was found to provide the largest net benefits to customers of all the options considered.

“Construction of a new 330 kV line between South Australia’s mid-north and Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, via Buronga, is expected to deliver the highest net market benefits by helping to lower electricity prices, improve system security and support our energy transformation towards a lower carbon emissions future,” Mr Masters said.

“Net market benefits are estimated to be around $1 billion over 21 years.

“Savings to customers in South Australia could be delivered as soon as the interconnector is built. This would largely be due to the interconnector placing downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices.

“South Australia is a national leader in renewable energy and we have an opportunity to further build on this reputation. Interconnection with NSW would enable South Australia to increase renewable energy production and export it into the national market.”

Mr Masters said based on current estimates, a new interconnector would cost $1.5 billion across both states, and subject to receiving all necessary environmental and development approvals, could be delivered between 2022 and 2024.

“To deliver the project, ElectraNet would partner with TransGrid, the manager and operator of the high voltage electricity transmission network in NSW. Should the project be approved, TransGrid would fund the works within its jurisdiction.

“Our work has been closely coordinated with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)’s national planning process that has identified increased interconnection from South Australia as one its key national transmission priorities,” Mr Masters said.

In November 2016 ElectraNet began a process to explore the technical and economic feasibility of a new interconnector with the eastern states, as well as non-network alternatives, through the Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T).

The RIT-T is the economic cost benefit test that is overseen by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and applies to all major network investments in the National Electricity Market.

Throughout the RIT-T process ElectraNet will continue to consult with a range of stakeholders, including customer representatives, AEMO, government and other interested groups.

Stakeholders, interest groups and members of the public are invited to have their say on the findings of the draft report, with submissions due by 10 August 2018. Submissions can be emailed to consultation@electranet.com.au.

The next step of the RIT-T involves the publication of a Project Assessment Conclusions Report, which ElectraNet currently anticipates will be released by November 2018. The AER will then make a final ruling on the outcome of the RIT-T before the project proceeds.

For a copy of the draft report, more information about the South Australian Energy Transformation project and information about public consultation click here.

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