Constituency questions – VicGrid

Mr D O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (14:38): (6518) My question is to the Minister for Energy and Minister for Environment and Climate Action, and I seek from the minister an explanation of what role VicGrid is playing in the changes to or the rollout of additional transmission and other electricity infrastructure across the state, particularly in respect of the renewable energy zones announced in 2020. In my electorate of Gippsland South we currently have Ausnet proposing a new 500-kilovolt overhead powerline to connect up potentially with the proposed offshore wind farms and other renewable energy being developed. It is very unclear to me and my community what role VicGrid will play and whether it will actually be able to assist any of those residents who are directly affected by the proposals for overhead transmission lines across their properties and what role, ultimately, VicGrid and the government will play if those residents refuse permission. So I seek some clarity on VicGrid’s role and how it will manage the impacts on my community from this proposed transmission line.

Answer

Answered: 14 September 2022

 

VicGrid is a division established within the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning in July 2021. It has been tasked with co-ordinating the overarching planning and development of Victorian renewable energy zones (REZs). This body will also oversee investment decisions related to the $540 million REZ fund that will be used to strengthen the grid and unlock the potential of the REZs.

The first step towards developing Victoria’s REZs was the release of the REZ Development Plan Directions Paper for consultation on 18 February 2021. The next steps in Victoria’s $540 million REZs investment are underway, with the progression of Stage One projects that will strengthen and modernise Victoria’s electricity grid.

The Victorian Government has also released a preliminary design of the Victorian Transmission Investment Framework (VTIF), which sets out our proposed approach to develop Victoria’s REZs that:

  • ensure the coordinated development of electricity transmission and renewable energy generation infrastructure to deliver energy affordability, reliability and security for Victorians
  • seek to integrate land use, environmental impacts and community views in transmission infrastructure planning to support better outcomes for local communities as well as project delivery
  • reflect local values, maximises the benefits of renewable energy infrastructure and minimises negative impacts
  • seek to balance important considerations, such as environmental objectives and fostering social licence for new investment
  • ensure the efficient provision of transmission services with respect to price, reliability and security.

VicGrid sought feedback on the preliminary design from stakeholders, including community members, with the consultation period closing in mid-August.

VicGrid wants to see coordinated development of energy infrastructure that minimises the impacts on local communities while delivering the solutions we need to connect new renewable generation across the state. VicGrid is closely monitoring transmission proposals for offshore wind and considering how it thinks these are best coordinated. VicGrid expects that all project proponents will engage closely with host communities so they can understand and seek to address their concerns and priorities.

Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP

Minister for Energy

Minister for Environment and Climate Action

Minister for Solar Homes

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