Council concerned with proposal for more high voltage power lines

Council has expressed deep concern at the newly announced overhead transmission lines proposed as part of the Victoria – New South Wales Interconnector (VNI) West project. Read our media release.

What is the VNI West project?

VNI West is a proposed new high capacity 500 kilovolt (kV) double-circuit overhead transmission line between Victoria and New South Wales. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) announced the release of the Regulatory Investment Test (RIT-T) for Infrastructure for the project on Friday 29 July 2022.

The project will include a transmission line from Kerang in northern Victoria to the proposed terminal station in Hepburn Shire, being constructed as part of the Western Renewables Link. The proposed terminal station at Mount Prospect is located less than 15 kilometres from both Creswick and Daylesford.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) 2022 Integrated System Plan identifies VNI West as an actionable project to be progressed urgently. The project is currently estimated to cost $3.256 billion.

AEMO has engaged early with Council about its planning for the project and has been advised by Council that proper consultation needs to be undertaken with the Hepburn community.

Council will continue to seek detail about the project including the proposed alignment of the transmission line, the nature of the infrastructure and the environmental features and communities that will be impacted.

What is Council's position?

While Council is highly supportive of renewable energy, it strongly opposes above-ground transmission lines and the terminal station in the proposed location for the Western Renewable Link (formerly Western Victoria Transmission Network Project). This also is the case for the VNI West project.

The prospect of additional overhead transmission infrastructure bisecting the shire from north to south and connecting to the terminal station proposed in the Western Renewable Link is of great concern to the Council and Hepburn community.

Overhead transmission lines and terminal station at Mount Prospect will have a significant impact on valuable agricultural land, significant landscapes and the health and wellbeing of local people in Hepburn Shire.

The community and Council do not want this above ground infrastructure. Council is highly supportive of renewable energy, but our clean energy future must be based on trust with community. Planners of major infrastructure projects should ensure they secure appropriate social licence by addressing the environmental, social and economic implications for communities early in project development.

Read more about what Council is doing towards the Western Renewables Link (formerly the Western Victorian Transmission Network project).

Have your say

Make a submission on the draft report

The VNI West Project Assessment Draft Report has been released for public comment until 9 September 2022. The draft report is available on the Transgrid website (which has further background information on the project) and the AEMO website (which is a direct link to the report). Council will review the report and provide a submission.

Attend an information session

Council encourages everyone interested in this project to register via the Transgrid website and head along to the sessions to learn more about the project and make your voice heard.

Transgrid and AEMO Planning Victoria will hold online afternoon information sessions about the Project Assessment Draft Report.

These will be held:

  • Wednesday 10 August 2022, 1pm to 2.30pm - Register here (Microsoft Teams online meeting)
  • Thursday 25 August 2022, 1pm to 2.30pm - Register here (Microsoft Teams online meeting).

Find out more.