The Andrews Labor Government is taking action to enable urgent upgrades to the energy transmission network, introducing legislation that will fast-track priority projects like grid-scale batteries and transmission upgrades.
Amendments to the National Electricity (Victoria) Act 2005 will give Victoria the power to unlock renewable projects and improve the reliability of Victoria’s energy supply.
These reforms allow the Government to override the complex and outdated national regulatory regime, which causes excessive delays in delivering transmission projects and fails to properly account for the full benefits of investments.
These changes – to be used in close consultation with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) – will focus on projects that deliver clear benefits to consumers, while increasing our capacity to import electricity during periods of peak demand.
As a first step to secure additional transmission capacity the Government will ask AEMO to call for expressions of interest to increase the capacity of the Victoria-New South Wales Interconnector.
The vulnerability of the national energy network has been highlighted in recent months, with each of Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia narrowly avoiding load-shedding in late January.
Extreme heat has created unprecedented demand for electricity while ageing, coal-fired generators repeatedly let Victoria down. The transmission system is also vulnerable to bushfires and severe weather events, like the mini-tornado that brought down the Heywood interconnector this summer.
These reforms follow the Government’s record investments in renewable energy generation, which is increasing supply and putting downward pressure on power prices.
Since winning the election in 2014, the Government has brought more than 1200MW of renewable energy online with 2600MW under construction.
The Government is also putting a power station on the roofs of Victorians through the Solar Homes program, which will see solar panels, solar hot water or solar batteries rolled out to 770,000 Victorian households over the next 10 years.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio
“The existing national energy laws have let us down – they have failed to drive investment in our electricity system or provide a 21st century grid for all Victorians.”
“These reforms will help keep our energy system resilient as we face hotter summers, longer bushfire seasons, and increasingly unreliable coal-powered generators.”
“We continue to pressure the Commonwealth, as Chair of the Energy Council, for changes to the national market rules so Victorian households and businesses are not unfairly disadvantaged when it comes to accessing more reliable, cleaner and cheaper power.”
Reviewed 30 July 2020