Western Victoria Transmission Network Project

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The Draft Scoping Requirements are now open for public comment until 11.59 pm on 27 November 2020: View here.
 

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Project background

Council involvement

Project timeline and resulting actions

 

Project background

What is the project? 

AusNet Services has been awarded the contract to construct 190 km of new overhead high voltage transmission lines from Sydenham to Bulgana, a new terminal station to the north of Ballarat and several electricity infrastructure upgrades across western Victoria. Whilst the route of the transmission line has not yet been determined, AusNet Services has identified an area of interest and is undertaking investigations. 

Moorabool Shire is proposed to have almost 60 km of 500 kV transmission lines from the far west border through to the east, and may also house the new terminal station.
 

Project approvals 

The State Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is currently assessing the potential environmental impacts of the project through the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process. The Draft Scoping Requirements, which set out the matters to be investigated and documented in the EES, are now open for public comment until 11.59 pm on 27 November 2020: View here.  

The project is also classified as a ‘controlled action’ under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and assessments will be managed by the State Government under this Bilateral Agreement.  
 

Council involvement

What is Council doing? 

We are addressing community concerns and supporting residents by urging decision-makers to put the lines underground and provide transparent information to the public.  

Underground is the solution  

In order to explore the viability of alternative solutions, we commissioned an independent report that compares 500 kV Overhead Lines with 500 kV Underground Cables. It confirmed that the undergrounding of powerlines is a viable option. 

Key findings:  

  • To install a portion of the route underground is a technically feasible option

  • Undergrounding significantly reduces the magnetic field level when standing 15m away, compared to overhead lines

  • Underground lines are not susceptible to weather conditions and experience a third of the forced outages

  • The easement requirement for underground is two-thirds of that of above ground 

  • There are less vegetation management requirements for underground lines

  • Overhead lines emit audible noise whereas underground lines do not

Read the full report here
 

Green and Unseen campaign 

Council has launched a campaign called Green and Unseen which urges AusNet Services to put the transmission lines underground.  
 
“We’re proud to produce renewable energy through our wind farms… but putting the powerlines overhead is not green and is actually dangerous to Moorabool residents – hence our Green and Unseen campaign.” said Mayor Cr David Edwards.

 

 

Educating the community 

We are coordinating a series of online community sessions with independent experts to better inform the community on various aspects of the project.  

  1. Understanding the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) process
    Presented by Jack Krohn. Senior Impact Assessor, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
    Wednesday 23 September 2020
    Watch the recording
    Additional Q&A - DELWP
    Additional Q&A - AusNet Services

  2. Understanding compulsory land acquisition and compensation 
    Presented by Tony Rutherford, Shaun Whittaker and Jackson Dyer from Mills Oakley Law Firm
    Thursday 8 October 2020
    Watch the recording

  3. Energy Safe Victoria Part 1 - Safety and High Voltage Transmission Lines
    Presented by Brett Fox and Gavin Jackson from Energy Safe Victoria
    Wednesday 21 October 2020
    Watch the recording
    Additional Q&A - Energy Safe Victoria

Find out when the next sessions are.  

 

Project timeline and resulting actions

Council has been advocating on behalf of the community with decision-makers throughout the entire process:

April 2017

AEMO publishes the first report, the Project Specification Consultation Report (PSCR) which seeks feedback and advice on the identified need for new transmission infrastructure.

December 2018

AEMO published Project Assessment Draft Report (PADR) that assessed the technical and economic feasibility of options to improve transmissions options in western Victoria.

31 January 2019

CEO and council staff have an Initial meeting with AEMO. Project report in draft and no final decision made on which project will be put to tender.

1 February 2019

Council requests potential alignment from AEMO. Provided very high-level map from PADR.

February 2019

Advert appears in local paper:

local advertisement

Feb-May 2019

Council seeks further clarification on the preferred alignment and its impact on Moorabool Shire Council.

6 June 2019

Council meets with AEMO to discuss the project in more detail

26 June 2019

Council provides a detailed submission to AEMO. Council’s view was that the project needs to be conducted in a manner that has the least impact on our residents, our existing landscape, the natural environment, farming activities, our towns and the growth projected for the Shire. Council reiterated that the most appropriate way to address these concerns would be through the undergrounding of the powerlines, ideally for the extent of the project or at least in part.

28 June 2019

Submission supplied to all Federal and State Members.

9 July 2019

Council Staff meet with AEMO to discuss the Submission

19 July 2019

Western Victoria Renewable Integration Report – Project Assessment Conclusions Report (PACR) published. This report confirms that the preferred option is a new 500kV line from Sydenham to North Ballarat.

29 July 2019

Council does media release and the project is in the Moorabool News.

1 October 2019

Council officers receive briefing from AEMO on PACR

22 October 2019

Council provides second submission to AEMO focussed on potential fire risk. Submission reiterates the request of underground.

17 December 2019

AEMO selected Mondo, the commercial division of the AusNet Services Group to plan, design, construct, own, operate and maintain the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project.

18 December 2019

Mondo wrote to Council stating they will be in touch in the new year to discuss project.

18 December 2019

Council wrote to Mondo providing our submissions and reiterating the need to understand where the alignment was proposed to be.

20 December 2019

Mondo/AusNet acknowledging letter.

13 March 2020

Council had first meeting with Mondo/AusNet. Council first told that letters were going to be sent to landowners (this got put on hold due to COVID-19).

1 April 2020

Moorabool holds first meeting with all affected councils

28 April 2020

Joint letter from Moorabool, Melton and Hepburn raising concerns

4 May 2020

Letter from AusNet acknowledging receipt of letter

1 June 2020

AusNet advises council officers that letters were sent to 120 land owners. Phone calls commenced the following week.

3 June 2020

AusNet provides briefing to Councillors

19 June 2020

Victorian EES Referral accepted by Planning Minister

Referral documents:

20 June 2020

Community held meeting in Myrniong

26 June 2020

Second joint letter from Moorabool, Melton and Hepburn councils

27 July 2020

Letter to Minister for Planning from Moorabool, Melton, Hepburn and Ballarat councils

29 July 2020

CEOs from Moorabool, Melton and Hepburn met with Executive team from AusNet and AEMO to discuss issues raised in first joint letter

4 August 2020

Planning Minister confirms EES will be required for project

Minister’s decision documents:

6 August 2020

Federal EPBC Referral accepted and open for public comment

EPBC Referral documents:

13 August 2020

Moorabool CEO writes to AEMO asking for an expanded justification on the cost comparison used to rule out underground as an option

14 August 2020

Moorabool provides submission to EPBC referral

18 August 2020

A joint letter from Moorabool, Melton, Hepburn and Ballarat councils raising concerns

25 August 2020

Mayor David Edwards writes to Victorian MPs seeking their support to ask AusNet to bury the transmission lines.

2 September 2020

EPBC Decision – controlled action assessed under the bilateral agreement with the Victorian Government

4 September 2020

Letter to Federal Minister for Energy and Emission Reduction

4 September 2020

Letter to Federal Minister for Environment

23 September 2020

Community Session 1: Understanding the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) process
Presented by Jack Krohn, Senior Impact Assessor, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

25 September 2020

Council releases independent report that compares aboveground with underground

8 October 2020

Community Session 2: Understanding compulsory land acquisition and compensation
Presented by Tony Rutherford, Shaun Whittaker and Jackson Dyer from Mills Oakley Law Firm.

9 October 2020

Moorabool CEO responds to AEMO requesting further information on AC/DC, loss of social licence, and commercial matters

21 October 2020

Community Session 3: Energy Safe Victoria Part 1 - Safety and High Voltage Transmission Lines
Presented by Brett Fox and Gavin Jackson from Energy Safe Victoria

 

Provide feedback to AusNet

Council strongly encourages everyone to share their feedback directly with AusNet Services and have their voices heard by visiting www.westvictnp.com.au, calling (03) 9021 0674 or emailing info@westvictnp.com.au.

 

Last Updated:

Friday, 26 June, 2020 - 14:14