Eyre Peninsula Link Requested Funding Approved – Well, Most Of It

Eyre Peninsula Link

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has approved funding for a proposed new, high-voltage transmission line project for South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula – Eyre Peninsula Link.

After almost half a century in service, the Eyre Peninsula’s existing high-voltage power line is approaching the end of its operational life and has certainly been showing its age.

In May this year, ElectraNet submitted an application to the AER seeking an increase in its allowed revenue to replace the existing line. This, it said, would improve reliability and security of supply to homes and businesses in the region; including reducing network outages and saving on the ongoing cost of back-up generation and repairs.

In addition to meeting immediate supply needs of the Eyre Peninsula, it would also “future-proof” the network to cater for increased capacity for new mining developments and renewable energy projects in the region for the next 50 years..

ElectraNet will build a new 270-kilometre long double-circuit 132 kV transmission line from Cultana to Port Lincoln via Yadnarie, and have the ability to upgrade the Cultana to Yadnarie section to 275 kV in the future when required. The project also includes upgrades to transmission substations at Port Lincoln, Cultana, Yadnarie, Wudinna and Middleback.

The route of the new line runs almost parallel to the existing transmission line – a result of landowner engagement that indicated a strong preference for this and an approach that will have the least environmental impact.

An overview of the project can be found here.

AER: Electranet Overestimated Capex

ElectraNet was shooting for $290 million, but the AER approved $280 million; stating:

“.. while we found the tendered costs to be reasonably prudent and efficient, we found that ElectraNet has overestimated the capex required for its internal project delivery requirements and its project risk costs.”

AER stated its decision will deliver the incremental revenues required to deliver Eyre Peninsula Link as soon as practicable, while also ensuring consumers pay no more than necessary. ElectraNet will be able recover $3.7 million in additional revenue from customers during the remainder of the 2018-23 regulatory control period, which will add about $1 annually to a ‘typical’ residential power bill.

While not allowed the full $290 million, ElectraNet seems pleased with the outcome.

No doubt the region’s residents will also be happy – they’ve endured multiple blackouts and other power quality issues over the years. The worst incident in recent times resulted from a major storm in 2016, an event that saw some politicians confusing wind power with powerful winds. After the storm, many on the Eyre Peninsula were without mains electricity for several days; which sparked increased interest in solar power and battery storage.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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