ARENA

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has issued A$995,000 (US$70.900) in funding for TransGrid to conduct a feasibility study into the potential development of new transmission capacity in the New England region in northern New South Wales.

TransGrid requires A$3.45 million (US$2.4 million) in total to conduct the study.

The study will provide a roadmap for the development of the New England Transmission Infrastructure (NETI).

The project will include a 330kV line and a new substation in the east of Gunnedah. Developing the line will enable an additional 1,400MW of renewable energy peak generation capacity into the grid within the next three to five years.

The model TransGrid will develop is expected to unlock additional private investment in transmission infrastructure to support new large scale renewable energy investment, and further inform regulatory reform and market design.

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TransGrid aims to deliver a new commercial model for transmission investment in the National Electricity Market as an alternative to the current lengthy regulatory process.

However, ARENA’s funding only supports the initial development phase for a new transmission line between Tamworth and Gunnedah.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said: “Last month, ARENA also announced funding for TransGrid to undertake a scoping study to develop the Central West Orana Renewable Energy Zone with the NSW Government. The NSW Government has also announced A$79 million (US$56.3 million) in support for grid infrastructure to unlock up to a further 8GW of large scale generation in the wider New England region as part of its REZ strategy.

“Together, these TransGrid studies will provide two test cases for developing future renewable energy zones and the transmission infrastructure needed to support them.

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“Knowledge gained and shared during the study will also underpin other broad-based market reforms. It is hoped it will inform energy network businesses and regulatory bodies to develop the regulatory framework to promote more efficient investment outcomes.

“The NETI will host and underpin a significant amount of new renewable energy capacity for the NSW electricity market while allowing TransGrid to test and validate new commercial models.”