On this page:

We know that community, landholders and First Peoples need accurate and up-to-date information to better understand what the energy transition means for them, and how to get involved.

Partnering with Traditional Owners

VicGrid is committed to seeking to work in partnership with Traditional Owners as distinct rights holders to Country and Sea Country. We will enable their self-determination priorities and ensure that First Peoples are at the centre of decision-making processes around issues and opportunities that directly affect them.

In response to Pupangarli Marnmarnepu ‘Owning Our Future’ Aboriginal Self-Determination Reform Strategy, VicGrid and DEECA will partner with Traditional Owners and other Aboriginal Victorians to identify and address key expectations and Aboriginal community concerns that align to their rights and cultural responsibilities.

The need for new transmission

New transmission is critical to our renewable energy transition.

Victoria's grid is historically the strongest in the Latrobe Valley, where coal-fired power stations are based. However, renewable resources are dispersed across Victoria – from our windy coastlines to our sunny plains.

That's why we are working on transmission and network upgrades. This will improve and modernise the grid in the areas where sun and wind are abundant so more renewable energy can flow to where it is needed across Victoria.

How does electricity transmission work?

High voltage transmission lines and distribution poles and wires transport electricity from where it is generated to where it is used. This system is known as the grid.

Larger, high-voltage lines transport electricity from generators to demand centres in metropolitan and regional areas while smaller, low-voltage lines transport electricity to homes and businesses.

Learn more about how the electricity sector works.

What are some of the challenges with our grid – what exactly do we need to fix?

Our electricity grid is a finely balanced system. The total amount of power that can flow through the grid at any one time is constantly monitored to assess how much power is being generated and how much is being used. If this flow falls out of balance, faults, power outages or large-scale blackouts can occur.

To allow more renewable energy to flow through the grid, while ensuring energy remains secure, reliable and affordable, we need to:

  • upgrade existing lines to give them more capacity
  • build new high-voltage transmission lines to add new main paths for electricity to be transported
  • build interconnectors to enable power to flow between states in the National Electricity Market
  • build other infrastructure that helps the grid stay in balance and prevent faults.

Who decides what transmission is needed and where – and what is the process to build it?

Building transmission infrastructure is a complex and lengthy process that involves many organisations working together. This ensures that the projects and routes chosen are the best options for electricity customers who eventually pay for them through electricity bills.

Here's a snapshot of the current process in Victoria

  • The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) forecasts what is needed at a national level – and when – in its Integrated System Plan.
  • AEMO Victorian Planning (AVP) identifies the best project to meet the need through a cost-benefit analysis (the regulatory investment test for transmission or RIT-T), including a proposed location for the project.
  • AVP then runs a contestable procurement process to award a contract for the selected project's design, construction, ownership and operation.
  • The successful proponent undertakes a detailed project design and relevant planning and environmental approvals, including determining a preferred project route.

Learn more about how we’re reforming this process through the Victorian Transmission Investment Framework.

In some circumstances, where there is an urgent need for a project to be delivered more quickly, the Minister for Energy and Resources can use powers under the National Electricity (Victoria) Act 2005 (NEVA) to accelerate the delivery of transmission projects.

Information about transmission – get the facts

Understandably, many people have questions about new transmission, particularly those who live or work near transmission infrastructure.

In consultation with other government bodies, VicGrid has prepared factsheets providing information on key topics raised by communities and landholders. These are available below.

Both overhead transmission lines and underground cables have advantages and disadvantages to consider when planning transmission projects, however most of Victoria’s 6,500 km transmission network is overhead.

While overhead lines may have visual impacts, they also have better capacity, easier accessibility for maintenance, and can allow new renewable energy sources to connect along the line.

Underground can sometimes be the preferred solution, for example, where no additional connections are needed or where overhead is not possible because of the terrain. However, underground cables have environmental and land use impacts, can be technically challenging and are considerably more expensive.

For more information, read our overhead and underground transmission factsheet. For an in-depth look into how each transmission type is constructed, operated and maintained, read the summary of transmission infrastructure factsheet.

Victoria’s transmission network is designed, operated and maintained in line with strict safety laws and regulations to reduce the risk of bushfires.

Transmission Network Service Providers in Victoria must have an Electricity Safety Management Plan, which sets out how they reduce the risk of transmission lines starting fires.

Energy Safe Victoria monitors compliance with these plans and holds transmission companies to account for any breaches or non-compliance. Read ESV’s transmission and bushfires factsheet to learn more about how safety is assured from design through to decommissioning of transmission infrastructure.

The CFA has standard operating procedures for how its members can work safely around high-voltage transmission lines and large pylons. To learn more, visit fighting fires around transmission lines.

Victorians have lived, worked and farmed near major power transmission lines for decades. Many farms currently co-exist with the 6,500 km of transmission lines across Victoria.

Transmission Network Service Providers (TNSPs) manage and operate network infrastructure in Victoria. They play a crucial role in determining the activities allowed within transmission easements to comply with safety regulations. The activities allowed by TNSPs may vary based on an easement’s infrastructure and conditions.

Advice can vary depending on the infrastructure, but some considerations when farming near or on transmission easements are listed below.

  • Height restrictions for some irrigation systems and machinery.
  • Most irrigation can be used with height restrictions, but largegun irrigators cannot operate within the easement.
  • During construction the easement will be partially or fully occupied for construction works, but grazing and cropping can continue next to the easement.
  • Crops with deep roots and rooted vegetation cannot be planted in the easement of an underground transmission line.
  • Aerial spraying cannot occur within an overhead transmission easement.
  • Drones may be allowed within an overhead transmission easement subject to a safety assessment and permission from the TNSP.
  • In the event of a bushfire, the TNSP will work with Emergency Management Victoria and the CFA to ensure aerial firefighting can take place within and near transmission easements.
  • Electric and non-electrified and metallic fences are allowed subject to height limits, TNSP approval and suitable earthing.

Read our working and farming near transmission infrastructure factsheet for a general guide on what activities are permitted around transmission infrastructure.

Protecting farms from pests, weeds, diseases and contaminants is important. There are a range of laws, rules and guidelines to protect Victorian farms from biosecurity threats. These provide guidance to transmission companies for before, during and after the construction of transmission lines and other energy assets.

Some practices and responsibilities for transmission companies are listed below.

  • Before considering construction, attempt to negotiate a voluntary Landowner Access Agreement with the host landholder. This document defines when and how properties will be accessed.
  • Adhering to the terms of the Landowner Access Agreement when accessing a landholder’s property.
  • Providing landholders with details of the company's biosecurity policies and procedures before accessing land.
  • Documenting any environmental or biosecurity incidents that occur and communicating to landholders how the incidents have been managed.
  • Monitoring and following biosecurity controls to protect crops and livestock around properties and transmission infrastructure.
  • Contacting the farmer or land manager before visits to discuss mitigations for biosecurity risks.
  • Removing mud, dirt and manure from clothes, boots and equipment before disinfecting them.
  • If they have been in contact with livestock, changing clothes or coveralls and washing hands before visiting the next farm.

Some landholder responsibilities are listed below.

  • Making sure the Landowner Access Agreement contains reasonable requirements for access to their property, including access points and the farm’s biosecurity management plan.
  • Having signage at entry and exit points with easy-to-follow information on the farm’s biosecurity management plan.
  • Reporting biosecurity risks or incidents by calling Agriculture Victoria’s Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 or the Emergency Animal Diseases Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

To learn more, read our biosecurity factsheet.

Electric and magnetic fields, also known as EMFs, occur when electricity is flowing or there is an electrical force. They can occur naturally, such as lightning or solar activity, or from human activity, such as powerlines and common household appliances.

Australians and people around the world have been living with appliances that emit EMFs for many decades.

There is no established evidence that transmission line EMFs pose a risk to human health. Studies have also not found any observable impacts on the health and productivity of cows, sheep, pigs and horses.

There are some possible impacts to smart farming technologies, but Transmission Network Service Providers will work with landholders to ensure these impacts are mitigated or minimised.

To learn more, read our transmission lines and electric and magnetic fields factsheet.

Compensation and landholder payments

Landholders hosting energy and transmission infrastructure play a crucial role in Victoria’s renewable energy transition and are entitled to compensation as well as new annual payments.

To learn more about compensation and landholder payments, click on one of the accordions below or read our compensation factsheet.

Landholders who host new transmission easements are entitled to compensation in line with the Victorian Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 (known as the LACA). The LACA is designed to fully compensate landholders for the establishment of easements on their land, including the impact on farming and business operations.

Compensation amounts are set through negotiation with the energy company. Landholders can have an independent valuation and be reimbursed for reasonable costs associated with this process.

Compensation is calculated using many factors including:

  • the market value of the acquired easement
  • disturbance
  • costs associated with seeking legal and professional advice
  • some non-financial losses.

In addition to compensation, the Victorian Government is introducing new payments for a typical area of new transmission easement of $200,000 per kilometre of transmission hosted, paid in annual instalments over 25 years indexed to inflation.

The new payments will apply to the following:

  • Integrated System Plan (ISP) and Victorian Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) transmission projects
  • proposed Victoria-NSW Interconnector (VNI West) and Western Renewables Link transmission projects
  • Victoria-Tasmania interconnector (Marinus Link) project
  • transmission being developed by VicGrid to connect Victorian REZs and future offshore wind projects.

More information about these payments will be available on this webpage in the coming months.

Land access code of practice

Access to private land is important for Victoria’s energy transition. Energy companies need to engage with landholders in good faith and in a way that is transparent, clear and considerate of a landholder’s needs.

To help achieve this, the Essential Services Commission has introduced a land access code of practice which energy companies must follow when seeking access to private land in Victoria. The code aims to minimise the impact of land access by energy companies and improve consultation with landholders.

For more information, visit land access code of practice.

Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner

The office of the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner (AEIC) helps community members address their concerns about proposed or operating wind farms, large-scale solar farms, energy storage facilities and new major transmission projects. The office also identifies and promotes best practices and works with stakeholders across government, industry and community.

To get more information, contact the AEIC.

Current and upcoming consultations – have your say

VicGrid is committed to meaningful engagement with communities and stakeholders and working with Traditional Owners as partners.

For more information, to get involved or register for updates about our work, please visit our relevant Engage Victoria pages:

Page last updated: 22/03/24