The $4.9 billion HumeLink transmission project is shaping up as the first big test of governments’ will to progress difficult projects needed for the energy transition, says a key adviser to the NSW government.
Cameron O’Reilly, the lead author of an independent review into the state’s energy reliability and supply which recommended the extension of the Eraring coal generator, said the full benefits of several projects already under construction could not be delivered without the controversial HumeLink project, making it vital to the transition.
New high-voltage transmission lines are facing community opposition. Luis Ascui
His report recommended that the NSW government take on HumeLink as a priority infrastructure transmission project under its electricity road map if project proponent TransGrid did not promptly commit to building it.
But this was one of four of the report’s 54 recommendations that was not accepted by the government, even in part, when it announced its response to the report earlier this month.
The 500-kilovolt, 360-kilometre project in southern NSW will not only connect to the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro storage project but also a transmission line being built to South Australia that will open up the region to remote wind and solar farms. The Australian Energy Market Operator has said HumeLink needs to be online by July 2026 at the latest, but the venture faces fierce pushback from landholders and communities on the route of the line, which want it to be buried underground.
Mr O’Reilly said that although he accepted it was the government’s right to reject any of the report’s recommendations, it was a concern that such a critical project had still not received a commitment, despite being among four priorityRead more on afr.com