Australian TSO Transgrid has released an energy roadmap, detailing an AUD16.5 billion ($11 billion) investment required to grow the power system in New South Wales (NSW) and ensure the secure operation of a net-zero grid.
The System Security Roadmap outlines the NSW Transmission Network Service Provider’s programme of works across three critical pillars to build and operate a safe, reliable and low-emissions power system.
According to Transgrid, more than 2,500km of new transmission lines are needed to ensure access to renewable generators and interconnection between regions required to drive down wholesale energy costs.
Over the next decade, Transgrid plans to invest AUD14 billion ($9.4 billion) to build new transmission infrastructure including the AUD7 billion ($4.7 billion), 1,600km Southern Superhighway made up of three major critical transmission projects – EnergyConnect, HumeLink and VNI West.
Transgrid’s Powering Tomorrow Together Program is bundling procurement for these three projects to secure needed equipment and materials.
New system security infrastructure to replace services currently provided by coal generators will require an investment of an estimated AUD2.2 billion ($1.5 billion) over the next decade.
This will be funnelled into new system-strength technologies and services to maintain the secure operating envelope of the grid, equating to 21 large (200MVA) synchronous condensers.
The utility’s recent global Expression of Interest process to provide system strength resulted in nearly 70 potential technology solutions.
These include more than 10GW of existing or conversions of existing synchronous generators, a pipeline of 10GW of grid-forming batteries and 5GW of other new generation and energy storage projects, such as pumped hydro and gas.
Over the next decade, Transgrid will need to invest AUD140 million ($93.9 million) to build new operational technology tools and AUD160 million ($107.3 million) to increase staffing levels and training.
This includes advanced digital technologies to provide control room operators with critical information to understand current and evolving system conditions.
Transgrid CEO Brett Redman said on the roadmap: “There will be no transition without transmission. However, the enormity of the task and the challenges we face must not be understated.
“We must embrace innovation, invest in technology, develop a larger and more skilled workforce and strengthen our capabilities if we are to achieve a rapid transition to a low emissions energy system providing clean, affordable and reliable electricity to Australians.”