New South Wales transmission network operator, Transgrid, has announced it will go ahead with $180 million of upgrades to support new wind and solar projects on its grid, despite not yet having obtained regulatory investment approval.
Transgrid said the fast-tracked upgrades to the transmission link between Dinawan and Wagga, taking it from 330kV to 500kV, would avoid the need to duplicate network links in the future, achieving a cost saving of more than $400 million.
The upgrades would also support the build out of the state’s South West Renewable Energy Zone, the Snowy 2.0 project, and a 2.5GW wind, solar and battery storage project being developed in Dinawan by Transgrid shareholder Spark Infrastructure.
This announcement will unlock 50 per cent more capacity now and allows for an additional 250 per cent (for a total of 300 per cent) when operating at 500KV,” said TransGrid executive manager of delivery, Craig Stallan.
TransGrid said it would seek regulatory clearance for the upgrade “at a later date.” A federal government promise of up to $181 million will serve as a buffer should the project fail to secure regulatory approval for the expenditure.