Federal, NSW govts to underwrite QNI upgrade

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 30 October, 2019

Federal, NSW govts to underwrite QNI upgrade

The federal and NSW governments are jointly underwriting a project to upgrade the energy interconnector between the state and Queensland to the value of $102 million.

The two governments will jointly underwrite the early works to upgrade the Queensland–New South Wales Interconnector (QNI), a 330 kV AC interconnection operated by TransGrid and Powerlink Queensland.

Underwriting the investment will allow TransGrid to fast-track the completion of the QNI project extension by late 2021, and will allow NSW to mitigate the impact of the planned closure of the Liddel coal power plant in 2023.

Both the federal and NSW governments will assume liability for $51 million in funding for the project, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison said also aims to put downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices for the benefit of households and industry.

But the underwriting will only apply to the costs of any early works conducted prior to the Australian Energy Regulator releasing its final regulatory determination for the upgrade project.

Clean Energy Council Director for Energy Transformation Lillian Patterson said the joint investment demonstrates that governments recognise the critical nature of transmission investment for the future of Australia’s power system.

“The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) identified this interconnector as a time-critical project in its Integrated System Plan,” she said.

“Better interconnection between the regions will be increasingly important to build a more flexible and resilient power system as we move towards cleaner sources of energy.”

Powerlink Queensland is owned by the Queensland Government, but TransGrid was privatised by the NSW Government in late 2015.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Yuttana Studio

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