Offshore wind energy is part of Victoria’s switch to renewables and is vital to our clean energy transition.
New transmission will be critical to connect the energy generated from offshore wind to our existing grid.
The Offshore Wind Implementation Statement 2 outlines our plans for establishing Victoria’s offshore wind industry.
Implementation Statement 2 confirms that VicGrid will lead a coordinated approach to transmission infrastructure development for offshore wind generation in Gippsland and Portland.
- Reduce the number of transmission line developments that connect offshore wind, avoiding transmission lines criss-crossing the landscape.
- Ensure local communities, Traditional Owners and industry stakeholders are engaged.
- Reduce confusion for landholders, local communities and stakeholders who are being engaged by multiple developers about transmission.
How will VicGrid coordinate transmission development?
New shared transmission network
- VicGrid will lead the development of new shared transmission network infrastructure in Gippsland and Portland, including connection point(s) for the offshore wind generators and the development of necessary transmission lines to connect to the current shared transmission network.
- VicGrid will undertake comprehensive engagement to ensure stakeholders are well informed about the transmission development plans and understand how they can engage with the process.
Expectations of current offshore wind project developers
VicGrid will be the sole developer of the new shared transmission network infrastructure in Gippsland and Portland.
It is expected that current developers will:
- Cease any external activities on the development of connection points for offshore wind generation and infrastructure to connect such points to the current shared transmission network.
- Developers who have undertaken technical studies and/or engaged with local communities (including landholders), Traditional Owners and stakeholders are required to remove information about potentially overlapping transmission lines from the scope of their engagement activities.
- Developers can continue to engage on transmission developments for assessing their offshore wind farms and cables to the VicGrid nominated coordinated connection point(s).
- Work with VicGrid to transition engagement responsibility for the new shared transmission infrastructure to VicGrid by 17 April 2023.
- Continue to undertake offshore project development activities.
As outlined in Implementation Statement 2, only generators using the VicGrid developed connection points will have access to the Victorian Government’s offshore wind generation support package.
In due course VicGrid and AEMO will run a competitive process to procure the necessary transmission infrastructure.
It is expected that eligible entities aligned with the Victorian Government’s vision for coordinated transmission development in Portland and Gippsland will be invited to participate in this process.
Guidance for offshore wind project developers
Who will VicGrid be engaging with?
Stakeholders that VicGrid will engage with include landholders and neighbours, agricultural groups and farms, local communities, local councils and other regional stakeholders and industries in and around the Gippsland and Portland areas of interest, environmental groups, businesses and tourism, Australian Government departments and energy market bodies, and industry stakeholders (including offshore wind and transmission developers). VicGrid will seek to establish a partnership approach with Traditional Owner groups.
What does this mean for developers’ engagement?
It is expected that by 17 April 2023:
- Developers will wind down independent engagement with community and other stakeholders on infrastructure that VicGrid will be responsible for developing. Developers may have undertaken a feasibility assessment for transmission lines that may overlap with the VicGrid-led transmission. As part of the feasibility assessment, they may have undertaken technical studies and/or engaged with local communities (including landowners), Traditional Owners and stakeholders. As VicGrid increases its engagement activities, developers are expected to remove the potentially overlapping transmission lines from the scope of engagement activities. This will reduce confusion and promote a coordinated approach to engagement. However, this does not mean offshore generation developers should completely stop engagement activities on transmission developments, as they will still be assessing their offshore wind farms and cables to the VicGrid nominated coordinated connection point(s).
- VicGrid will become the centralised point of contact for new shared transmission network development. VicGrid will undertake comprehensive community, Traditional Owner, and stakeholder engagement to inform its decision-making, while reducing the burden and risk of engagement fatigue where it can and learning from developers’ findings to avoid duplicating engagement activities where possible.
How long will VicGrid be leading engagement?
VicGrid will undertake comprehensive community, Traditional Owner, and stakeholder engagement on the coordinated transmission solution until late 2023, which is when the business case on connection points and high-level route corridors for the new shared transmission infrastructure is expected to be finalised and approved by the Victorian Government. After business case approval, VicGrid will continue to play a key role with both AEMO and the successful project developer.
What is the process for engagement after the business case has been approved?
Once the business case is approved, VicGrid and AEMO will run a competitive process to procure the necessary transmission infrastructure. Once the preferred tender is selected, they will be responsible for engagement, with VicGrid jointly accountable for the engagement throughout the project lifecycle.