PM’s pledge to fast track SA-NSW interconnector to deliver cheaper energy
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged to fast track a $250 million project that will connect SA and NSW power grids, as part of the country’s COVID-19 recovery plan.
The Prime Minister announced on Tuesday the project — named Project EnergyConnect — will link the state’s two grids to create jobs, deliver cheaper and more reliable energy and unlock future investment.
“These links will help put downward pressure on prices, shore up the reliability of our energy grid and create over 4000 jobs,” Mr Morrison said.
“Our plan for Australia’s energy future is squarely focused on bringing down prices, keeping the lights on and reducing our emissions and these interconnectors bring us a step closer to that reality.”
The SA-NSW interconnector is one of three alike projects: The Marinus Link will be between Tasmania and Victoria while the VNI interconnector will link NSW and Victoria.
The federal government plans to work with the states to accelerate works under the $250m program.
South Australian government modelling suggested small to medium businesses would save thousands of dollars each year, while the average household would save $66 once the interconnector was complete.
SA Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the interconnector would stabilise the grid and address its legacy of mass blackouts.
“The interconnector will lead to cleaner, more reliable and more affordable energy for people across our state,” he said.
“The Australian Energy Market Operator has deemed the SA-NSW Interconnector ‘critical’ and a ‘no regrets’ project.”
In September 2016, the entire state was left without power after a storm damaged electricity infrastructure.
A second blackout hit SA in late December with severe storms again damaged over 300 power lines in the network.
While most people lost power for about 12 hours, some people in the Adelaide Hills, Mid-North, Flinders Ranges, and Murraylands were without for up to 46 hours while others — mainly across the Adelaide Hills — had no power for more than 80 hours.
In early February — during a heatwave — more than 90,000 households in Adelaide lost power for 45 minutes.