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The New South Wales (NSW) Government is looking to strengthen the grid to make way for the uptake of renewable energy. One of their strategies is to provide private landowners in the state $200,000 per kilometre when they host new transmission infrastructure on their land.
On 25 October, the government proposed a new compensation strategy under the Strategic Benefit Payments Scheme. Landowners will receive average payments of at least $10,000 per year, for 20 years, for every kilometre of transmission wire.
The treasurer and energy minister, Matt Kean, said, “The scheme is part of our commitment to share the benefits of a reliable, clean and affordable energy grid with the landowners, who will have a vital role in supporting the delivery of critical transmission infrastructure that will make this possible.”
The plan will help NSW reach its goals of reaching 12 GW of renewable energy capacity and 2 GW of storage by 2030. In order to reach this goal, there need to be at least five new renewable energy zones.
A win for landowners?
The NSW government sees the opportunity a great win for landowners because they will earn a huge sum of money whilst they help contribute to state goals. However, it seems like some landowners don’t think it’s a “win” for them due to the risks of having transmission infrastructure on their land.
Several landowners have expressed their concerns about the risks of fire, a decrease in property value, a negative impact on aesthetics, and more.
In fact, there have been protests in Victoria against VNI West. This is also one reason many state governments fear how landowners would react when they propose the same thing.
On the other hand, Farmers for Climate Action welcome the strategy. “Farmers for Climate Action applauds this policy, which has the potential to bring renewables online faster whilst giving farmers alternative sources of income,” said CEO Fiona Davis.
Residents have something to say as well. In Gurrundah, 300 residents and homeowners want the power lines to be installed underground.
The need for transmission lines
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has identified several new lines that should be built over the next 20 years to meet the nation’s energy needs. A lot of them are already in progress, such as the Western Victoria Transmission Line, Project Energy Connect, and the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone link.
Out of all the states in Australia, NSW is known to have the most ambitious renewable energy policy. The policy will help speed things up when it comes to eliminating coal-fired power stations to be replaced with clean energy.
Transmission lines are vital to connecting renewable energy sources to the grid. However, where the lines will be placed must undergo environmental and other studies. For example, transmission lines shouldn’t be placed along property boundaries.
Currently, many transmission lines are already at full capacity, meaning they can no longer connect renewable projects into the system. In fact, it has been years since Australia built new large-scale transmission line projects.
And now, NSW is making a move to get the ball rolling again. However, there is a need for strong coordination between the state, energy market bodies, regulators, transmission companies, and landowners.
In addition, renewable energy transmission lines will benefit local communities by creating jobs and boosting economic development.
In the case of hosting transmission lines, it will help beef up farming businesses.
Energy Matters has over 17 years of experience in the solar industry and has helped over 40,000 Australian households in their journey to energy independence.
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