NSW gives nation’s biggest energy project go-ahead

New South Wales is leading the nation’s charge towards a low-emissions energy system after the NSW Government approved stage one of a $1.8 billion transmission line that would link NSW and South Australia’s energy networks for the first time.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said stage one planning approval had been granted for the NSW Western Section of Energy Connect, a 900-kilometre transmission line that would run from Wagga Wagga to Robertstown in SA, with a spur line to Victoria.

“Today’s approval is a major step towards facilitating the delivery of what would be the largest energy transmission project undertaken in Australia in more than 30 years,” Mr Stokes said.

“The first stage will run from the Buronga substation to the Victorian border and create 600 construction jobs and inject $418 million into our regional economy.

“To get to a low-emissions energy system our nation needs robust and reliable transmission infrastructure and that’s why we declared Energy Connect Critical State Significant Infrastructure in 2019 because it will be a fundamental part of Australia’s energy future.”

Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean said the project will accelerate progress under the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap and help us achieve a 50 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.

“The Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap is our plan to replace our ageing electricity infrastructure and secure NSW’s future as a clean energy superpower,” Mr Kean said.

“This approval will help to unlock transmission constraints in southern NSW and help to open up the South-West Renewable Energy Zone.

“The South-West Renewable Energy Zone will drive jobs and investment into regional NSW, and help to provide our households and businesses with some of the cheapest, cleanest electricity anywhere in the world.”

Energy Connect is being delivered by Transgrid and will be built in two stages, with the majority to be located in NSW.

Stage one will now be referred to the Federal Government for approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, before construction is expected to begin next year.

Stage two will involve the development of the 540-kilometre eastern section between Buronga and Wagga Wagga and will be subject to a separate development application. The overall project is expected to be operational by 2024.

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