Smart Wires Inc.

Transgrid delivers VNI Interconnector upgrade, releasing flow of renewable energy between states

Nov 3, 2022

More renewable energy will now flow between Victoria, NSW and the ACT with the successful delivery of Transgrid’s upgrade of the Victoria-NSW Interconnector (VNI).

The $45 million VNI upgrade has unlocked 170 megawatts of additional energy, enough to power more than 30,000 homes.

Transgrid CEO Brett Redman said the project was delivered on budget and features world-leading SmartValve technology from US-based grid enhancing technology company, Smart Wires.

“Transgrid is building the energy superhighways that will benefit millions of Australians and this project is a key example of how we are enabling more efficient sharing of renewable energy between the states.

“The speed at which the energy transition is accelerating means we must embrace new technology and innovate and SmartValve is a perfect example of how Transgrid is doing just that.

“This clever technology benefits both customers and the environment and will allow renewable energy from Victoria to flow into NSW and the ACT when demand is greatest,” Mr Redman said.

Transgrid is the first large scale user of SmartValve technology in Australia. It detects congestion on the transmission network and redirects power off overloaded lines onto transmission lines with spare capacity and enables substations to be upgraded using existing infrastructure.

Nine SmartValve units were installed at Transgrid’s Stockdill substation in the ACT to unlock 120 MW of additional energy, while six units at Yass substation will provide another 50 MW.

“By using power flow controller technology we can unlock additional energy without needing to build new lines or upgrade existing transmission lines, which minimises environmental and community impact,” he said.

Smart Wires CEO Peter Wells applauded Transgrid’s adoption of grid enhancing technology, which he believes will be critical to Australia’s long-term energy future.

“Transgrid is one of the world’s leading utilities in this space, and through VNI and other projects, is proving its commitment to the energy transition, the environment and its customers.

“The VNI project has been an incredibly successful collaboration which has increased transfer capacity and enabled the connection of significantly more renewables.

“We are very proud to partner with Transgrid and support the evolution of Australia’s grid into a digital, secure and accessible platform capable of delivering net zero, economic growth, innovation, jobs and prosperity,” Mr Wells said.

The project was the preferred option identified to increase transfer capacity between NSW and Victoria in the 2020 Project Assessment Conclusion Report (PACR) by the Australian Market Energy Operator (AMEO) and Transgrid.

The PACR found the VNI upgrade is expected to deliver net benefits of up to $268 million to electricity customers.
The VNI upgrade will help reduce electricity bills through more efficient sharing of generation resources between the states and enable more energy from renewable sources to enter the grid.

It will also support the development of new renewable generation in the state’s energy zones.

The completion of VNI follows Transgrid’s successful delivery in July of the $236 million upgrade of the Queensland-NSW Interconnector (QNI) which allows 460MW more power to be transferred into Queensland and 190MW more into NSW and the ACT when needed.

Transgrid is also building the 700km NSW section of EnergyConnect, from Wagga Wagga to the South Australian border. EnergyConnect will enable the sharing of energy between NSW, SA and Victoria.

Transgrid is also developing HumeLink and VNI West Kerang, which together with EnergyConnect will reinforce the southern grid and support cheaper, cleaner energy.

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