TransGrid Services (TGS) will assess the feasibility of developing a New England Energy Zone in New South Wales (NSW). This project will focus on identifying a new commercial model to encourage transmission infrastructure development and connect new renewable energy projects in NSW.
The Australian electricity system is in transition from one substantially supported by coal resources, to one increasingly powered by renewable energy.
As coal fired generation assets retire, there is a need for investment in new generation capacity. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has identified that without new generation capacity there will be a shortfall in supply.
New energy zones have been identified as a way to encourage investment in large-scale renewable energy generation. To date, however, no new energy zones have been developed due to regulatory and commercial barriers. This project seeks to test an innovative model for the deployment of transmission infrastructure to support new energy zones.
TGS will assess the feasibility of an innovative commercial model (directly funded by renewable energy participants in exchange for firm capacity to connect to the NSW grid) to develop transmission infrastructure that unlocks new renewable energy investment in the New England area of NSW.
Located between the regional towns of Tamworth and Gunnedah, the New England Transmission Infrastructure (‘NETI’) development will comprise a purpose-built 330kV transmission line, which will enable up to 1400 MW of new renewable energy generation capacity. TGS will:
- seek expressions of interest from potential renewable energy proponents seeking to obtain capacity on the proposed transmission line
- proceed to a ‘Request for Capacity’ (RFC) phase and finalising commercial and market details
- close out commercial arrangements with renewable energy proponents successful in the RFC phase.
Should the project achieve its objectives, TGS will likely proceed to the deployment of the new transmission line, although this deployment is not within the scope of this project.
The objective is to develop a new high-quality transmission infrastructure on an existing easement with the direct support of renewable energy generation proponents. The upgraded line will form a backbone for the New England energy zone which will host 1400 MW capacity.
The project aims to:
- demonstrate an innovative commercial transmission development model that could inform the development of a national framework for renewable energy zones
- inform alternative approaches to regulatory reforms and marketdesign for the NEM
- support the increased potential to integrate RE generation into the electricity system by offering increased transmission capacity.
This project will help the economy by potentially:
- facilitating approximately $1 billion in infrastructure development
- enabling an estimated 2000 construction jobs and 150 ongoing operational jobs
- supporting local business and contractors via the construction process
TGS will be talking to the local community about the project and will extend support in case of any inconvenience.