TransGrid has announced new options for the proposed Hume Link transmission line, after the original proposal was criticised by local landholders, council and the Rural Fire Service.
- The new high voltage transmission lines will connect Snowy Hydro to the grid
- The initial plans had the lines going through private farmland and near an airport
- New options include going through a state forest, after a bushfire cleared the area
The new 500-kilovolt transmission line will in part connect the expanded Snowy Hydro scheme to the electricity grid.
The initial route for the new 600-kilometre network connecting Wagga Wagga, Maragle and Bannaby cut through large areas of private farmland.
Snowy Valleys Council and Rural Fire Service were also concerned about its proximity to the Tumut Airport, which can be a base for firefighting aircraft and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
A lot to be worked out
One of the new options was to move the line north of Blowering Dam, away from the Tumut Airport, but TransGrid’s head of corporate affairs, Graeme Wedderburn, said there was still a lot to be worked out.
“Where the route goes after that, we haven’t yet determined, because the work to assess a line that could go over Blowering [Dam] has been complex and has taken a lot of time,” he said.
Mr Wedderburn said the second proposed route through the Green Hills Forest sought to address the concerns of landholders about the impact on valuable farming country in the Yaven Creek area near Adelong.
“The fires adjacent to Yaven Creek, for instance, were very badly damaged and it’s only in a sense because of that, that this has opened up as a viable option.”
‘Tip of the iceberg’
Landowner Matt Pearce said he was happy with the concessions made.
“Yes, we’ve been listened to — but in saying that, there are still a lot of landowners across the Hume Link project that aren’t as fortunate as us so will still be potentially impacted,” he said.
Mr Pearce said it was a long way from a “confronting” letter he initially received in the mail, with TransGrid telling him a line would be going through his property.
He hoped they and other private industry operators would learn from the experience.
“So I think this is probably the tip of the iceberg as the renewable change happens.”
‘Has to provide benefits’
Mr Wedderburn said the new options should not cost much more than the original plans, and that keeping costs low remained a primary focus for the project.
“It wont get approval without that, it has to provide benefits to customers.”
The proposed routes are expected to be finalised by mid year before an environmental impact statement is prepared.