Frequently Asked Questions

What is Project EnergyConnect?

Project EnergyConnect is a joint project between South Australia’s electricity transmission network provider ElectraNet and New South Wales’ provider Transgrid. The Project involves building a 900 km long interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales with an added connection into Victoria.

What is an interconnector?

An electricity interconnector is a connection between multiple transmission networks that allows power to flow between regions. Interconnectors are common around the world including in Australia. Project EnergyConnect involves the construction of a new 330 kilovolt (kV) above-ground transmission line, with approximately 800 MW transfer capacity, connecting South Australia and New South Wales, with an added connection to north-west Victoria.

The interconnector will help lower energy prices and improve security and reliability in these states.

Why do we need this Project?

The Australian energy landscape is changing as we transition to a greater mix of renewables. To support this transition, the national electricity grid needs to change to connect new energy generation sources to Australian communities and businesses.

At the same time, customers are demanding lower power prices and a more secure and reliable service. ElectraNet, the owner and operator of the South Australian transmission network, has investigated a solution to lower prices and help the network evolve. The solution is a high-capacity interconnector between Robertstown in South Australia and Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, with a connection to Red Cliffs in Victoria.

The interconnector will help lower energy prices and improve security and reliability in these states.

What is the National Electricity Market?

The National Electricity Market (NEM) is responsible for supplying approximately 80 per cent of Australia’s energy needs (AEMO, 2019). New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland are all part of the NEM and are connected by approximately 40,000 km of cables and transmission lines (AEMO, 2019). These lines connect energy producers into the NEM and transport the power they produce to consumers including households, businesses, public services and public infrastructure across these States.

How can I stay informed, ask questions or provide feedback?

Project EnergyConnect is committed to keeping communities and stakeholders up to date, and ensuring there are plenty of ways to ask questions and provide feedback.

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How have you selected the route?

The route was selected and refined based on energy infrastructure needs, community input, and comprehensive environmental and planning assessment processes.

The broad route was based on the need to provide supporting infrastructure to connect areas identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator as Renewable Energy Zones.

To help enable future energy generation projects in these zones, the interconnector needs to join sub-stations at Robertstown in South Australia, and Wagga Wagga in NSW, via the sub-station at Buronga.

While the sub-station connection points were fixed, the approximately 900 km route between them was not.

To refine the route between the sub-station points, a detailed route selection process focused on balancing social, environmental, land use, engineering, and cost considerations.

This process involved identifying potential constraints and opportunities, and seeking feedback from stakeholders.

This information was summarised in each state’s relevant environmental and planning approval documentation, before being provided to state and Australian governments for assessment and approval.

What are the benefits of Project EnergyConnect?

Project EnergyConnect will deliver a range of benefits to customers in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria including:

  • Lower power prices
  • Improved energy security
  • Increased economic activity
  • Support the transition to a lower carbon emission energy system
  • Support a greater mix of renewable energy in the NEM.

Independent modelling also forecasts Project EnergyConnect will deliver broader economic benefits including regional construction jobs during the life of the Project in South Australia and New South Wales. 

How much will I save on my electricity bills?

Typical residential electricity bills in South Australia are estimated to reduce annually by about $100 and businesses can expect higher savings, proportional to their energy use. Project EnergyConnect will save NSW customers $180 million per year. These savings are estimated to start flowing after the Project’s completion.

Was the option of constructing the transmission line underground considered? If so, why was it ruled out?

Constructing the transmission line underground was considered early in the Project development. It was ruled out due to potential for unacceptable environmental impacts as well as the much higher costs of underground construction and ongoing maintenance.

What is the status of the RIT-T process?

Project EnergyConnect underwent the Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) during 2019. The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) found that the Project satisfied the requirements of the RIT-T. 

What was the South Australian (SA) environmental and planning assessment process?

The SA section of the Project was declared a:

  • Major Project under the Development Act 1993 (SA) by the Minister for Planning on 24 June 2019
  • Controlled Action by the Commonwealth Environment Minister on 19 July 2019.

The declaration meant the Project required assessment under both the Development Act 1993 (SA) and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).

The process included preparing documents for assessment:

  • Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – commissioned by ElectraNet and prepared in accordance with EIS Guidelines released by the State Planning Commission on 20 November 2019. The EIS is a detailed summary of findings from a range of comprehensive environmental, social, cultural and engineering studies, informed by communities, stakeholders and independent experts. The EIS was released for public comment between 12 May 2021 and 25 June 2021.
  • EIS Response Document – commissioned by ElectaNet and responding to feedback on the EIS, released on 1 December 2021
  • Assessment Report – prepared by the State Planning Commission to provide an assessment of the Project utilising information provided in the EIS and Response Document.

Approvals from state and Australian governments included:

  • Development Authorisation issued by the SA Minister for Planning and Local Government.
  • Approval for a controlled action issued by the Australian Environment Minister under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Relevant approvals by both the state and Commonwealth governments were required before the South Australian section of Project EnergyConnect could proceed.

The SA portion will require some further approvals, known as secondary approvals, for parts of the Project. Major secondary approvals include (but are not limited to):

  • An EPA licence for prescribed activities under the Environment Protection Act 1993, such as concrete batching
  • Building Rules Certification by an Accredited Professional, stating that all building work meets the standards of the Building Code of Australia.


What was the New South Wales (NSW) environmental and planning assessment process?

The NSW section of Project EnergyConnect was declared Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) by the NSW Government. As a result, the NSW section of Project EnergyConnect is being assessed under the State Significant Infrastructure (SSI) process.

For more information about the SSI assessment process visit the NSW Government’s Major Projects’ website.

In late 2021, the key Western Section of the project in NSW achieved key planning approvals from NSW, Victorian and Commonwealth Governments.

The NSW Eastern Section, for works between Buronga and Wagga Wagga in NSW, is currently progressing through the Environmental Impact Assessment process.

ElectraNet and Transgrid are committed to accessible, transparent and inclusive engagement with stakeholders and communities. Register for Project news direct to your email through The Connector.

How have stakeholders and the community been involved in route selection?

ElectraNet and Transgrid are committed to listening to stakeholder, landholder and community feedback, and have ensured their input has informed the route selection process.

Engagement has included:

  • Meetings and ongoing discussions with Traditional Owner groups
  • One-on-one meetings and ongoing discussions with landholders
  • Meetings with local, state and federal governments
  • Community information sessions
  • Online interactive tools and mapping for stakeholders to provide feedback regarding the proposed route.

Involvement of key stakeholders and the community in the environmental and social impact assessment processes.