Western Victoria Transmission Network Project

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What is the project?

In 2019, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) completed a Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) to identify the most economical way of addressing limitations in the western Victoria transmission network. Following the RIT-T process, AEMO appointed AusNet Services to build, own, operate and maintain 190km of new overhead transmission lines between Bulgana and Sydenham, a new terminal station to the north of Ballarat and several minor electricity infrastructure upgrades across western Victoria.

 

What stage is the project at?

Whilst the route of the transmission line has not yet been determined, AusNet Services has identified an area of interest and is undertaking investigations.

In August 2020, the Victorian Minister for Planning declared that an Environment Effects Statement (EES) is required for the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project which will ensure that potential environmental impacts are fully and transparently assessed before the project goes ahead. More information can be found here.

In September 2020, the Federal Government concluded the project will be a ‘controlled action’ under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The assessment under the EPBC Act will be managed through the State Government under the Bilateral Agreement. More information can be found here.

 

What is Council doing?

Moorabool Shire Council will continue to support its residents through the following forms of action:

Advocacy

Council continues to advocate on behalf of the community to decision-makers, as detailed in the timeline below. Council has demanded on several occasions that the transmission project 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. It is Council’s view 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 a minimum at key locations.

Community Education Sessions

Council has organised a series of online community sessions with independent experts to address various aspects of the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project. The aim of these community sessions is to help Moorabool residents be better informed on the complexities of the project. Due to the current restrictions of COVID-19, the sessions will be held online. Visit this website for more information.

Green & Unseen Campaign

To further advocate this message, Council launched its Green & Unseen campaign which urges AusNet Services to put the 500kV transmission lines that form the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project underground.
Watch the videos here:

 

Timeline of key correspondence

April 2017

AEMO publish 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 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

 

February-May 2019

Council Seek 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 provide a detailed submission to AEMO. In summary Council 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. It was also Council’s view that the most appropriate way to address these concerns would be through the undergrounding of the powerlines, ideally for the extent of the project.

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

 

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