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Benefits for all Victorians including lower electricity prices, improved energy security and increased economic activity.

Our commitment to western Victoria

The project provides a range of benefits for all Victorians including lower electricity prices, improved energy security and increased economic activity. In western Victoria, we consulted with the local community to determine a range of benefit sharing programs which address key social, economic and environmental needs in the region. Planned programs include a community fund, training and skills development programs and building energy resilience by providing in-kind contributions to community energy projects.

Local jobs, local goods and services

There will be employment opportunities created for local communities with an estimated 300 jobs during construction and where practicable, we will use local goods and services, including accommodation, cafes and restaurants.

Supporting a sustainable future for Australia

AusNet Services is actively supporting the transition to renewable energy, connecting both local and grid-scale renewable generation. We are planning and delivering transmission network projects to reduce potential network constraints, maximising the volumes of renewable energy that can be generated across Victoria.

The transmission network continues to be upgraded and expanded to support rapid growth in renewable generation. To date, we have connected around 1,600MW of new renewable generation across Victoria, including completing transmission connections to the Stockyard Hill and Dundonnell wind farms in 2020 and 2021.

The existing transmission network in western Victoria is at capacity. This means only limited power can be transported out of the region into the wider network, potentially impacting electricity prices for everyone over the long-term.

The Western Victoria Transmission Network Project will reduce urgent congestion on the existing transmission network and unlock up to 900MW of renewable energy capacity. Renewable energy in the broader region of Western Victoria currently has a combined generation of approximately 4000MW connected and the potential for up to a further  9000MW. 

Unlocking these vast reserves and making them available to the national electricity market will play a key role in energy supply availability and significantly contribute to putting downward pressure on energy prices. The project is key in enabling the Victorian Government to meet its renewables targets of 50% by 2030.

At a local level, we will work with communities to empower them to use local resources and infrastructure to create energy hubs, microgrids and virtual power plants. Along with solar systems and battery storage across several energy clusters, we are also developing exciting opportunities such as hydrogen conversion, waste to energy, and electric vehicle charging networks.

The move to renewable generation means lower cost electricity, economic productivity from carbon abatement, and job creation to address the skills gap for the pipeline of projects that need to be completed to transition Australia to renewables.

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Community Fund

We are establishing a Community Fund with the aim of enabling local not-for-profit groups, organisations and projects to make a positive long-term contribution to the communities within the project area.

The guidelines for grant applications are currently under development, however, the fund will be made available for the construction period of the project. Applications to the fund will be assessed by a group with representation from the community, local councils and AusNet Services.

Job opportunities

The project will bring many direct opportunities for employment to western Victoria both during the construction phase and ongoing operations.

Flow-on employment benefits will be generated as the project brings demand for local and regional business services and goods. These include:

  • Electricians.
  • Transport operators.
  • Concrete suppliers.
  • Civil works.
  • Accommodation and hospitality.

The project will employ 300 people over the two-year construction period. Our economic assessment has found that the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project will provide more than 1000 indirect jobs resulting from construction.

Future work packages

Our delivery partners, contractors, and their subcontractors will directly employ workers. Information on work packages will become available once the Environment Effects Statement process and planning decision is finalised. We are partnering with Industry Capability Network Victoria to ensure we engage with suppliers.

Indigenous engagement

We recognise the role of each Registered Aboriginal Party in the management, protection, and promotion of cultural heritage on Country, cultural awareness and land access. We are also talking with each Registered Aboriginal Party to understand the benefits and project outcomes that would be meaningful to each Registered Aboriginal Party and their communities.

Where possible AusNet Services will engage services through the  Registered Aboriginal Parties of the project’s footprint before going more broadly to other Indigenous businesses and service providers.

We will continue to work in partnership with First Peoples - State Relations Victoria and the recognised Registered Aboriginal Parties of the Barengi Gadjin, Eastern Maar, Djarra (Dja Dja Wurrung) Wadawurrung and Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Traditional Owners Corporations, to deliver the project.

Our vision is for the transmission lines and associated infrastructure, once constructed and operational, to be on Country that is in good condition and actively managed to protect the values, and promote the laws, culture and rights of each of the Traditional Owner groups. Through the project, AusNet Services is committed to cultural awareness training for its staff and delivery partners.

Community energy

We are working with local community groups from the project area who want to introduce renewables or innovative energy initiatives such as solar, batteries, microgrids, Virtual Power Plants and electric vehicle infrastructure to build energy resilience, and lower electricity prices, locally.

We can use our technical experience and industry knowledge to assist through in-kind support.

To date we have:

  • Helped a local group create a feasibility study so they could apply for ARENA's Regional microgrid grant.
  • Devised renewable energy strategies.
  • Provided insight and education on various renewable energy solutions.

If you are a community in the project area and are thinking about a Community Energy Project and would like to find out if you’re eligible for in-kind support, contact the project team on 1300 360 795 or info@westvictnp.com.au.