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We know that Traditional Owners and community need better information to better understand what the energy transition means for them, and their opportunities to get involved throughout this process.
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 outcomes and ensuring that First Peoples are at the centre of decision-making processes around issues and opportunities that directly affect them.
This means, for VicGrid and DEECA, in response to Pupangarli Marnmarnepu ‘Owning Our Future’ Aboriginal Self-Determination Reform Strategy, that we will continually 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.
No transition without transmission
New transmission is critical to our renewable energy transition.
Victoria's grid is historically the strongest in the Latrobe Valley, where our coal-fired power is mainly based. However, our 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 across the state. This will improve and modernise the grid in the areas where sun and wind are abundant so more renewables can flow through Victoria. This will deliver a cleaner, cheaper, stronger energy system for all Victorians.
Work to upgrade the grid will eventually unlock more than 10,000 megawatts of capacity across our Renewable Energy Zones.
- prepare our grid for the unprecedented volume of renewable energy in the pipeline
- make it easier for new projects to connect to the grid
- ensure the ongoing security and reliability of the grid, particularly as coal-fired generation ends.
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 often referred to 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 considering 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 renewables to flow through the grid across the state while ensuring it remains a secure, reliable and affordable system, 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 (NEM)
- build other infrastructure that helps the grid stay in balance and prevent faults – such as grid-forming inverters supported with battery storage and synchronous condensers.
Who decides what transmission is needed and where – and what is the process to build it?
Building transmission projects 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 their 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 are hosting this infrastructure on their land. The following links provide more information about these topics from VicGrid and other regulatory bodies that are responsible for the governing frameworks and planning of transmission infrastructure.
Summary of transmission infrastructure
There are a range of transmission types that suit different situations. They have different designs and uses, different costs and impacts.
This summary provides communities with information on available transmission technology and the important issues that are considered when planning and developing transmission infrastructure.
Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) works to ensure increased energy safety in Victoria and enforces regulations relating to fire safety.
ESV has published information on how the safety of the community is assured during the development of an electricity transmission network – from design through to decommissioning.
Further sources of information for communities and landholders
The Australian Energy Market Operator has created Transmission Company Victoria to work with communities on the VNI West project. TCV has published general information for communities on transmission, including on:
New payments for landholders who host new transmission
Landholders play an important role in hosting critical energy infrastructure. New easements are necessary for new transmission lines required to connect new renewable generation, which will deliver clean, cheap power to homes and businesses across Victoria as our ageing coal-fired power stations retire.
New landholder payments for communities that host new electricity transmission infrastructure are being introduced, recognising the important role and impact of hosting this crucial infrastructure.
The payments to landholders hosting new transmission projects with a typical easement area will be at a standard rate of $8,000 per year per kilometre for 25 years, indexed to inflation.
The new payments will apply to Integrated System Plan (ISP) and Victorian Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) transmission projects and are separate to any payments under existing arrangements for transmission easements under the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986.
The new payments will go to landholders who host transmission easements for the proposed Victoria-NSW Interconnector (VNI West) and Western Renewables Link transmission projects, contingent on receiving planning and environmental approvals.
The payments will also apply to the Victoria-Tasmania interconnector (Marinus Link) project and transmission links being developed by VicGrid to connect Victorian REZs and future offshore wind projects.
This will ensure a consistent and equitable approach for landholders affected by projects across different regions within Victoria and state borders.
More information about these payments will be available on this webpage in the coming months.
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: 27/11/23