Renewable energy - SA-New South Wales interconnector

16 Mar 2021

Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (14:53): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister update the house on how the SA-New South Wales interconnector is driving investment in renewable energy projects in regional South Australia?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:54): Thank you to the member for Chaffey for this very important question. While the early works are underway, we are already seeing investment. We have a very significant list of projects investing in South Australia and they are all looking forward to the delivery of this interconnector.

The most recent project to receive planning approval from our planning minister was the Goyder South Project, a $3 billion project to be delivered in three stages. I met with Neoen very recently. They are getting on with stage 1. They are a company with a track record in South Australia of delivering.

Hornsdale Wind Farm, the big battery at Hornsdale near Jamestown, is an extraordinary project that will deliver an enormous amount of investment and an enormous amount of employment into South Australia. Neoen says the first stage of the project, up to 400 megawatts of wind power, is expected to start construction next year. It will see hundreds of valuable jobs in regional South Australia. The Goyder South project could ultimately deliver 1,200 megawatts of wind, 600 megawatts of power and 900 megawatts of battery storage. This project will be transformational for South Australia.

We also have the Morgan Solar Farm, another project in the member for Chaffey's electorate; 150 megawatts of battery storage has been approved for this solar farm as well. We also have the Port Augusta energy park underway in my electorate of Stuart. The company has made it very clear that the interconnector, which we expect to be built, will be very advantageous in that they may well not have developed that project without it. There is also stage 2 of the Lincoln Gap Wind Farm. All of these projects are linked to the interconnector.

Interestingly, we have also seen very recently AEMO write a public open letter saying that, under all of the model scenarios out there that the AER is looking at, this interconnector is a positive project and delivers savings for electricity consumers in South Australia and in New South Wales. We have also seen the AEMC's response to a rule change request. They said to the proponent that there is enough money for the proponents to get on and deliver this project. Our government has also committed about $70 million in early works, so it is underway. The work necessary to build this project has started: route planning, environmental clearances, landholder agreements and procurement of bespoke equipment—a wide range of things. This is a fantastic project.