The Clean Energy Council is buoyed by today's announcement of a $1.8 billion investment by TransGrid to fund the new South Australia-New South Wales interconnector, saying that it is critical for the future of Australia's National Electricity Market as it builds a more flexible and resilient power system and unlocks the next wave of clean energy projects.
"This is a really exciting and necessary project that will help build a 21st-century electricity network. It also supports significant investment and jobs in renewable energy projects that are at the heart of Australia's energy transition", said Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton.
The interconnector will form a crucial element of the energy network for the future, connecting communities and businesses in the east of NSW with clean energy sources in western NSW, SA and Victoria, resulting in increased reliability in readiness for the inevitable closure of ageing coal-fired generators in NSW.
Project EnergyConnect will generate 1500 new jobs throughout construction and boost investment in regional areas not just from the interconnector itself but also from new renewable energy projects.
EnergyConnect also marks the largest single investment the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has made, with Thornton saying that the project is an urgent one.
"A lack of transmission investment is now one of the most critical challenges facing the Australian energy system. This is stifling new generation investment, constraining existing generation and resulting in increased energy security and reliability risks as well as higher power prices," Thornton said.
"While it's great to see Project EnergyConnect progress to this stage, the time taken to navigate the regulatory framework and the need for the CEFC to play a crucial role in financing is a stark reminder of the flaws inherent in the current regulatory environment.
"The pace of change in the energy transition warrants a major overhaul of the regulatory process for transmission, particularly in light of the implications and importance to push ahead with the remaining transmission projects identified in the Australian Energy Market Operator's Integrated System Plan."
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