The Morrison and Berejiklian Governments are delivering reliable and affordable energy, making the New South Wales-Queensland Interconnector (QNI) happen.
The Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments will jointly underwrite up to $102 million of the QNI upgrade to ensure the security of electricity in NSW.
This will allow TransGrid, the network transmission service provider for NSW, to fast track critical early works for QNI ahead of the final regulatory determination of the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the decision to underwrite QNI will unlock important transmission infrastructure and back the future of the New South Wales energy grid.
“This is about putting downward pressure on wholesale prices to make sure businesses and households have access to reliable and affordable power.
“Industry needs certainty. They need to know their electricity won’t cut out, and their power bill won’t suddenly double. You can’t run a business like that, and you can’t employ people.
“That’s why we are underwriting this interconnector. It’s a practical step to make sure it happens, and it happens quickly,” said the Prime Minister.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW Government is committed to providing reliable and affordable electricity to the people of NSW.
“The QNI upgrade will ease cost of living pressures for people across NSW, providing reliable and affordable power to households and businesses,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Last year, the NSW Government announced its Transmission Infrastructure Strategy which outlined our commitment to accelerate the delivery of key interconnector projects, including the QNI.”
Mr Taylor said the support will put downward pressure on wholesale prices and deliver essential transmission for the NSW industries and jobs that rely on affordable, reliable energy.
“The QNI upgrade will facilitate greater competition between generators in the electricity market, helping to reduce wholesale prices,” said Mr Taylor.
“This is great news for the energy-intensive industries, and the jobs and regional economies that rely on them. With wholesale prices making up around a third of an average retail electricity bill, this will also deliver price relief for households and small businesses.
“Along with the Victoria-New South Wales Interconnector (VNI), this will strengthen the backbone of the National Electricity Market, reduce network bottlenecks and make the energy market more efficient.”
Mr Kean said the new agreement with the Australian Government and TransGrid is the most cost-effective option for the people of New South Wales up to, and after, the closure of the Liddell power station in April 2023.
“Fast tracking QNI is just one of the ways we’re delivering on our commitment to keep the lights on and to keep power costs down as the energy market transitions,” Mr Kean said.
This program compliments work that TransGrid will progress on the VNI – which will further increase competition as well as removing constraints that prevent generation from getting to where it’s needed.
The Commonwealth Government will share the underwriting liability with New South Wales through a 50/50 split.
The Morrison and Berejiklian Governments are working closely as part of the Liddell Taskforce to mitigate other potential supply risks from the closure of Liddell.
The NSW–Queensland transmission interconnector was declared a high-priority project under the Australian Energy Market Operator’s Integrated System Plan. Through this joint agreement, upgrades to QNI will be brought forward to late 2021, delivering an extra 190 MW of capacity into NSW during peak demand periods.
Regulatory approval processes for QNI are already well progressed due to the New South Wales Government’s Transmission Infrastructure Strategy, with further action needed to ensure QNI is fully operational by the summer of 2022–23.