Clock ticking on VNI West submission deadline

Published on 16 March 2023

Transmission lines in a rural landscape

Hepburn Shire Council is urging the community to make a submission on the latest consultation report into the Victoria New South Wales Interconnector West (VNI West) project before the 5 April deadline.

Council has welcomed some aspects and expressed serious concern about other conclusions outlined in Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and Transgrid report.

“Council will make a strong submission to AEMO and Transgrid regarding the latest update,” said Mayor, Cr Brian Hood.

“We know there is high community interest in this project and we encourage people to take a close look at the report and make a submission,” said Cr Hood.

“While Mount Prospect is no longer the preferred option for a terminal station, it still remains an option. We also note that the proposed route of the Western Renewables Link transmission line through Hepburn Shire remains largely unchanged and is highly problematic,” he said.

A major concern for Council is the recommendation to increase the capacity of the proposed power lines from 220kV (kilovolt) to 500kV along the section of the Western Renewables Link west.

“This change would require significantly larger towers which will have even greater adverse impact on our significant landscapes, farmers and communities,” said Cr Hood.

From Mount Prospect west to Bulgana, the height range of the proposed towers will be increased from 40 - 60 metres high to 60 – 80 metres high. The easement under them will increase from 40 - 60 metres wide to 70 – 100 metres wide.

“We are very disappointed that the undergrounding of power lines has not been considered,” he said. “The unwillingness to consider this option for the more sensitive sections of the route demonstrates an indifference to genuine community concerns.”

AEMO and Transgrid will host online and in-person information sessions on Wednesday 22 March.

“This is a good opportunity to review the latest recommendations on the project and make your voice heard,” said Cr Hood.

Find details on session times and how to book, along with links to the reports and how to make a submission via Council’s engagement website, Participate Hepburn.

Feedback on the report is due by 5 April 2023.

What is VNI West?

VNI West is a proposed new high capacity 500 kilovolt (kV) double-circuit overhead transmission line between Victoria and New South Wales. The project originally included a transmission line from Kerang in northern Victoria to a proposed terminal station in Hepburn Shire at Mount Prospect, planned for construction as part of the Western Renewables Link. The preferred site for the terminal station is now proposed to be at Bulgana in Northern Grampians Shire.