A greater volume of renewable energy will be able to flow between Victoria, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Teritory (ACT), with the successful delivery of Transgrid’s upgrade of the Victoria-NSW Interconnector, VNI. The $45 million upgrade has increased capacity by 170 MW.
Transgrid CEO Brett Redman said the project was delivered on budget and features SmartValve technology from US-based grid enhancing technology company, Smart Wires.
Transgrid is the first large scale user of SmartValve technology in Australia. It detects congestion on the transmission network and redirects power off overloaded lines onto transmission lines with spare capacity and enables substations to be upgraded using existing infrastructure.
Nine of these units were installed at Transgrid’s Stockdill substation in the ACT to unlock 120 MW of additional energy, while six units at Yass substation will provide another 50 MW.
“By using power flow controller technology we can unlock additional energy without needing to build new lines or upgrade existing transmission lines, which minimises environmental and community impact,” said Mr Redman.
The project was the preferred option identified to increase transfer capacity between NSW and Victoria in the 2020 Project Assessment Conclusion Report (PACR) by the Australian Market Energy Operator (AMEO) and Transgrid. The PACR found the VNI upgrade is expected to deliver net benefits of up to $268 million to electricity customers.
The completion of VNI follows Transgrid’s successful delivery in July of the $236 million upgrade of the Queensland-NSW Interconnector (QNI) which allows 460 MW more power to be transferred into Queensland and 190 MW more into NSW and the ACT when needed. Transgrid is also building the 700km NSW section of EnergyConnect, from Wagga Wagga to the South Australian border. EnergyConnect will enable the sharing of energy between NSW, South Australia and Victoria. Transgrid is also developing HumeLink and VNI West Kerang, which together with EnergyConnect will reinforce the southern grid.