Camperdown Chronicle
Wind farms force line upgrades

THE number of renewable energy projects in western Victoria is expected to increase, with moves now under way to increase the carrying capacity of transmission lines to carry the load.

An Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) report released last week confirmed a $370 million upgrade of existing transmission lines and the development of new lines would be undertaken.

“Western Victoria is experiencing significant committed renewable generation development, with large amounts of additional generation expected to be operational in the near term,” the AEMO’s Western Victorian Renewable Integration report stated.

“Around 2000 megawatts (MW) of committed new renewable generation will be built, or is undergoing commissioning, in the western Victoria region by 2020.

“AEMO projects that a further 3000MW of new generation will be constructed in the region by 2025, and a further 1000MW of new generation will be constructed by 2030, based on proposed new connections in the region and the announced increase to the Victorian Government’s Victorian Renewable Energy Target.”

Under the plan to upgrade transmission lines, the 220kV lines stretching from Moorabool to Terang and onto Ballarat would be boosted to carry 10 per cent more power.

A new terminal station would also be built at North Ballarat, which would then be connected to an existing single circuit 220kV line to Bendigo and a newly constructed double circuit transmission line to Bulgana (Waubra).

A new double circuit 500kV line would also be constructed between Ballarat and a terminal station at Sydenham in Melbourne.

Ultimately the improvements are expected to allow for an increased flow of power from Victoria’s newly constructed renewable energy developments to New South Wales.

Tenders have already been called for to deliver the design, construction, operation and ownership of the new infrastructure.

“AEMO has identified that there is insufficient capacity within existing transmission infrastructure in western Victoria to enable the amount of existing and proposed generation in this region to efficiently dispatch electricity,” the report stated.

“Without adequate capacity, generators connecting to this part of the network will become increasingly constrained, limiting the ability for existing and new generators to export power to the network.”

Upgrades to the Moorabool/Terang/Ballarat line were scheduled to be completed by 2021, with the remaining works set to be completed by 2025.

The improvement works are expected to reduce network congestion and result in more efficient connection and dispatch of generation in the region.

“This will deliver key market benefits including fuel and capital cost savings and improvement capacity of the existing Victoria to New South Wales interconnector,” the report said.

“The project will also facilitate the establishment of major hubs for wind and solar energy in the region, by strengthening transmission corridors to cost-effectively transport large quantities of renewable energy to consumers.

“This will have spin-off benefits to communities in western Victoria through employment, economic, training and broader regional development opportunities.”

The transmission lines will also improve the Victoria to New South Wales interconnector export capacity, resulting in higher export of new renewable generation.

The exact routes of the proposed new transmission lines are as yet unknown and would be confirmed during the design phase of the project.

Interested people can access AEMO’s full ‘Western Victorian Renewable Integration Report’ at www.aemo.com.au/-/media/Files/Electricity/NEM/Planning_and_Forecasting/Victorian_Transmission/2019/PACR/Western-Victoria-RIT-T-PACR.pdf.