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NSW, South Australia move to fast-track power connection

Moves by NSW and South Australia to build a direct $1.3 billion link to export their excess electricity to one another is a step closer after the state energy ministers signed a formal agreement yesterday to establish a framework for the project.

The signing of a memorandum of understanding for a new interconnector by South Australian Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan and his NSW counterpart, Don Harwin, came ahead of today’s Council of Australian Governments ­Energy Council meeting in ­Adelaide.

“The MOU is another significant step in the process of establishing an interconnector that will lower electricity prices in both states and improve reliability across the national electricity market,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

“An interconnector between South Australia and NSW is a nation-building project that will allow both states to export excess energy to one another to help bring down prices and improve the security of our systems.’’

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said studies, including by the Australian Energy Market Operator, had favoured interconnection between South Australia and NSW.

The project is a key election promise of the Marshall Liberal government, which since winning power in March has started detailed line route and site selection works; co-ordinated planning approvals; ordered environmental and social studies; and consulted landowners about easement acquisition.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said the $1.3bn project was backed by the NSW Transmission Strategy as “critical to develop a renewable energy zone in the state’s southwest”.

“An interconnector to NSW closes the loop on South Australia’s connection to the nation, bringing cheaper power and greater export opportunities for our renewable energy,” he said.

“It will also directly connect our renewable energy resources with storage at a future Snowy 2.0. South Australia currently only has interconnection with Victoria, which puts us at the end of the line and vulnerable to the type of system risks that have hurt South Australia’s reputation.”

Source: The Australian