An independent review of a proposed alternative to the Victoria New South Wales Interconnector West (VNI West) transmission project has confirmed VNI West as the right solution for Victoria’s energy future.

When this report, known as ‘Plan B’, was released, the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) response found flaws in its analysis and assumptions, noting it would ‘result in lower levels of renewable generation entering the grid, will likely require the acquisition of people’s homes on the outskirts of Ballarat and Bendigo, and would result in long periods of power system disruption’.

The Victorian Government saw no reason to divert from VNI West on the basis of the proposal, but appreciates community and landholder interest and expectations regarding transmission projects.

The Government therefore commissioned an independent expert to undertake a detailed technical review of the Plan B report, which is available to view here.

After careful and serious consideration, this review found the Plan B proposal does not stack up.

The review found Plan B:

  • Underestimate both the benefits of the VNI West project and the challenges posed by the alternative set out in Plan B.
  • Would require significant battery and other storage investments or additional new interconnection infrastructure to work, and does not account for this.
  • Has its own risks associated with construction and operation that have not had sufficient technical assessment or community engagement.

The review confirmed that VNI West is the right solution and will play a crucial role in securing Victoria’s energy future and enabling the transition to renewables.

VNI West will boost Victorian renewable development, allowing up to 3.4 gigawatts of new generation to be built across the Murray River and Western Victoria Renewable Energy Zones.

It will give Victoria access to generation and storage in New South Wales that will support our transition to renewables and ensure reliable electricity supply during high demand periods, such as very hot days.

VNI West will also allow Victorian renewable generators to sell more of their power to consumers in New South Wales when it is not needed in Victoria.

The Victorian Government and transmission planners are focussed on delivering the infrastructure needed and working with host communities to maximise benefits for their regions.

Page last updated: 31/03/24