Project EnergyConnect, the proposed new interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales, has been listed by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) as a Group 1 (Priority Project) in its 2020 Draft Integrated System Plan (ISP) released today.
The ISP identifies investments needed for Australia’s future energy system: in distributed energy resources; variable renewable energy; supporting dispatchable resources and power system services; and the transmission grid.
Group 1 Priority Projects listed in the plan are those which are critical to address cost, security and reliability issues.
Project EnergyConnect is anticipated to reduce power bills for residential and business customers in South Australia and New South Wales, lower wholesale electricity costs in both states, improve network and energy security and support Australia’s energy transformation towards a low carbon emissions future.
It would also unlock renewable generation development and allow greater market exports, which delivers on the draft ISP’s need for targeted and strategic investment in the grid to balance resources across states and unlock much needed Renewable Energy Zones.
In releasing the plan, AEMO’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Audrey Zibelman, said the 2020 Draft ISP outlines the future requirements of the energy system to achieve a cost-effective, secure and reliable system that meets consumer needs and government policy objective.
“To maximise economic benefits, as traditional generators retire, Australia must invest in a modern energy system with significant consumer-led distributed energy resources – such as rooftop solar – and utility-scale variable renewable energy, supported by sufficient dispatchable resources and well targeted augmentations to the electricity network,” Ms Zibelman said.
South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, welcomed the Priority 1 project classification under the ISP.
“In essence AEMO has labelled the SA-NSW interconnector a ‘no brainer’ to deliver cheaper, more reliable electricity for South Australian households and businesses,” Minister Pellekaan said.
Project EnergyConnect is currently undergoing the final stage of review of its Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T), with a decision by the Australian Energy Regulator on whether the project meets the requirements of the RIT-T anticipated in early 2020.