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State Significant Infrastructure

Determination

Project EnergyConnect (NSW - Eastern Section)

Wentworth Shire, Balranald Shire, Murray River, Edward River, Hay Shire, Murrumbidgee, Federation, Lockhart Shire, Wagga Wagga City

Current Status: Determination

Interact with the stages for their names

  1. SEARs
  2. Prepare EIS
  3. Exhibition
  4. Collate Submissions
  5. Response to Submissions
  6. Assessment
  7. Recommendation
  8. Determination

Development of a new transmission line connecting Buronga Substation and Wagga Wagga Substation, and construction of the new Dinawan Substation (170 km west of Wagga Wagga).

Attachments & Resources

Notice of Exhibition (1)

Notice of Exhibition

Application (1)

Scoping Report

SEARs (1)

Issued SEARs

EIS (17)

EIS Main Report
Technical paper 1 - BDAR (Pt 1 - Main report)
Technical paper 1 - BDAR (Pt 2 - Appendices)
Technical paper 2 - ACHAR
Technical paper 3 - Historic heritage
Technical paper 4 - Agricultural land
Technical paper 5 - Landscape and Visual
Technical paper 6 - Social impact assessment
Technical paper 7 - Economic impact assessment
Technical paper 8 - Hydrology and flooding
Technical paper 9 - Air quality impact assessment
Technical paper 10 - Noise and vibration
Technical paper 11 - Traffic and transport
Technical paper 12 - Bushfire Impact assessment
Technical paper 13 - Electric and magnetic field
Technical paper 14 - Contaminated land
Technical paper 15 - Groundwater impact assessment

Response to Submissions (10)

Request RTS
Submissions Report
Submissions Report - Response to ERC
Amendment Report
1 Revised BDAR (Main Report)
1 Revised BDAR (Appendices)
2 Revised ACHAR
3 Historic Heritage Addendum
4 Revised LCVIA
5 Aviation Impact Assessment

Agency Advice (17)

BCD - Advice on EIS
HNSW ACH - Advice on EIS
Heritage Council of NSW - Advice on EIS
TfNSW - Advice on EIS
DPI Agriculture - Advice on EIS
Crown Lands - Advice on EIS
EPA - Advice on EIS
DPE Water - Advice on EIS
WaterNSW - Advice on EIS
DPI Fisheries - Advice on EIS
Murray-Darling Basin Authority - Advice on EIS
National Parks Advice on EIS
FRNSW - Advice on EIS
RFS - Advice on EIS
MEG GSNSW - Advice on EIS
CASA - Advice on EIS
Airservices - Advice on EIS

Additional Information (4)

Request for Additional Information (June 2022)
Response to RFI (August 2022)
Response to RFI - Revised BDAR (Pt 1 - Main report)
Response to RFI - Revised BDAR (Pt 2 - Appendices)

Determination (3)

Infrastructure Approval
Assessment Report
Notice of Decision

Approved Documents

Management Plans and Strategies (13)

Stage 1 - Approval of Traffic & Transport Sub-plan
Stage 1 - Traffic & Transport EMP Sub-Plan
Stage 1 - CEMP
Stage 1 - Approval of CEMP
Stage 1 - Biodiversity EMP Sub-plan
Stage 1 - Approval of Biodiversity EMP Sub-plan
Stage 1 - N&V EMP Sub-plan and OOHWP
Stage 1 - Approval of N&V EMP Sub-Plan and OOHWP
Approval of Biodiversity Offset Package
Stage 1 - S&W EMP Sub-plan
Stage 1 - Approval of S&W EMP Sub-plan
Stage 1 - Heritage EMP Sub-plan
Stage 1 - Approval of Heritage EMP Sub-plan

Other Documents (3)

Approval of Environmental Representatives
Staging Report
Approval of Staging Report

Note: Only documents approved by the Department after November 2019 will be published above. Any documents approved before this time can be viewed on the Applicant's website.

Complaints

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Enforcements

There are no enforcements for this project.

Inspections

There are no inspections for this project.

Note: Only enforcements and inspections undertaken by the Department from March 2020 will be shown above.

Submissions

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Showing 1 - 20 of 58 submissions
Save Our Surroundings (SOS)
Object
Gulgong , New South Wales
Message
SOS objects to Project EnergyConnect (NSW-Eastern Section) on the basis that the EIS makes unsubstantiated, and in fact, misleading statements, assumptions based long-term predictions and contains apparent errors. Some of these are that it will facilitate a greater mix of renewables, particularly mentioning wind and solar electricity generation, that:
1. will reduce emissions when if fact emissions increase and can take up to 10 years of operation to offset the embedded CO2e created from mining, processing, manufacturing (including about 45% of the ingredients of silicon ingots used to make solar cells being coal, hardwood chips and charcoal), transport and construction. This does not include operation, maintenance, replacement and decommissioning.
2. they will reduce the cost of electricity to consumers yet this has not occurred anywhere in the world where renewables make up over 30% of the energy mix (e.g. Germany and Denmark have the highest percentage and the highest electricity prices in the world)
3. replace the 15GW of coal-fired capacity with 26GW of renewables capacity, but renewables have a capacity factor of less than 30% hence 26GW is equivalent to 7.5GW of coal, gas or nuclear power, all of which do not suffer from intermittent to zero output when the wind or sun are unavailable
4. be the long term energy source for Australia but ignores the fact that nuclear reactors are a far superior solution given they produce no CO2 emissions (e.g. France is over 70% nuclear and has half the emissions as Germany), have operational lives of 70-80 years, use far less natural resources, operate 24/7, supply the lower cost electricity (France is half the cost of Germany), can use existing grid infrastructure and are safe, secure and reliable. The new nuclear Small Modular Reactors and Thorium reactors (India is building 62 right now for operation by 2025).

Please refer to the attached SOS Research Paper October 2021 for a comprehensive, factually based and fully referenced analysis of the false claims made about renewables, which is the only justification provided the Project EnergyConnect project. Remove the assumption that renewables (especially wind and solar) are the only solution for replacement of existing coal-fired power by 2040 and the project is clearly unnecessary and not fit for purpose.

Thank you for the opportunity for SOS to make this submission.
Attachments
Wakool Indigenous Corporation
Comment
PARKES , New South Wales
Message
Please see attached submission to the above EIS.
Attachments
Name Withheld
Object
Walla Walla , New South Wales
Message
I strongly object to Project Energy Connect ( NSW- Eastern Section) SSI - 9172452
My main reason is that it will greatly increase Solar and Wind Projects plus Big Battery Storage Systems including those already approved. I live at Walla Walla and already Jindera, Walla Walla and Culcairn have been approved by the IPC. The serious concerns of many residents have been completely ignored. Despite many calls for a public meeting, this was ignored. Just having a zoom meeting where only a few people can speak is so wrong. What is the rush? A moratorium is urgently needed to review the large number of solar and wind projects planned. Why have the DPI Draft Mapping project taken so long to release the results? Solar companies have used the incorrect land classifications and yet these projects are approved by the Government. So Wrong!! It is so important to preserve our agriculture land for agriculture. With our population growing and Covid, we need to be self sufficient for our food. Solar panels have the potential for heavy metals to leak into the soil and contaminate it. I urge that Project Energy Connect ( NSW- Eastern Section) does not go ahead.
Steven Broussos
Support
GREENACRE , New South Wales
Message
The bigger an electrical grid is, the better. I also support this cooperation between the states. However, as Singapore wishes to build the world's largest solar farm in Australia, as such, they should also be connected to the national grid. It's only fair
Matthew Herring
Object
LITTLE HARTLEY , New South Wales
Message
Thank you for the opportunity to provide comment on this EIS.

I have very serious concerns about this proposal that relate to the wetland biodiversity values of Lake Cullivel and the lower Boree Creek floodplain (see Figure 3-12 in the EIS). In recognising the inevitability of this infrastructure development, I implore the government and proponent to choose the Option 2A route over the Option 2C route to minimise the risk of waterbird and bat deterrence and collision.

I have led wildlife surveys in and around these wetlands for over 20 years. This area is recognised as a regional hotspot for biodiversity (Herring et al., 2008). My work in the area began in 2000 with my Honours research at Charles Sturt University because of the significance of the canegrass/spike-rush wetlands to Brolgas, particularly for breeding. This work also revealed the significance of the wetlands to the nationally and globally endangered Australasian Bittern, a species we recently estimated has a national population of only 1300 (Herring et al., 2021). The Lake Cullivel and lower Boree Creek system can support more than 2% of the national population (Herring et al., 2014), making it one of the most important wetland systems for the species, comparable to the Barmah-Millewa (NSW-VIC) and Bool Lagoon (SA) complexes, which are recognised as critical sites (Herring et al., 2019; 2021). Our satellite tracking work has shown that bitterns disperse at night and fly at heights above ground level where they are at risk of collision with high voltage power lines, especially those relying on visual deterrents (M. Herring, unpublished data, but see http://www.bitternsinrice.com.au/tracking-bunyip-birds/).

The Lake Cullivel and lower Boree Creek wetlands also support the nationally and globally endangered Australian Painted Snipe, as well as migratory shorebirds like the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper that are afforded protection under various international agreements, and state and commonwealth legislation. Astonishingly, the bittern, painted snipe and none of the migratory shorebirds rate a mention in the 777-page EIS. In fact, it appears waterbirds and wetland values have effectively been overlooked, apart from a rudimentary consideration of the Brolga and despite the obvious potential significance of a 1200-hectare remnant wetland and its surrounding floodplain wetlands. The collision risks for the Australasian Bittern are also a key issue for the Brolga, Australian Painted Snipe, migratory shorebirds and a range of other waterbird species that use these wetlands, as well as bats, many of which are threatened species listed under state and federal legislation. There is no detail about collision or deterrence risk mitigation in the EIS but an obvious measure is choosing the Option 2A route over the Option 2C route. I recently completed my PhD on the Australasian Bittern, focussed on the ecology and economics of bittern-friendly rice farming because so few natural wetlands support bitterns that we require novel solutions to help save the species. In south-eastern Australia, there are less than 30 natural wetlands that support regular breeding or more than one booming male (Herring et al., 2021). The Lake Cullivel/lower Boree Creek system is one of them and it is precious, not just because of its significance for bitterns but also because of the thousands of Whiskered Terns, Glossy Ibis, Yellow-billed Spoonbills, Baillon's Crakes, waterfowl and various other species that use these wetlands. I have seen them many times. These are some of the most important wetlands remaining in the Murray-Darling Basin.

To reiterate, I am deeply concerned about the potential impacts of the proposal on waterbirds and bats, especially the Australasian Bittern, for which Lake Cullival and lower Boree Creek floodplain wetlands can support globally significant numbers. I hope the sensible decision will be made to go with the Option 2A route over the Option 2C route.

Herring, M., McGregor, H., Herring, J., Webb, D. & Knight, A., (2008) Central Riverina Wildlife NSW Murray Catchment Authority, Albury. http://www.murraywildlife.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Central_Riverina.pdf

Herring, M. W. Bull, N. and Silcocks, A (2014) Bitterns in Rice: a pilot study of the endangered Australasian Bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus) and its use of rice crops. Publication No. 14/007. Rural Industries Research and Develeopment Corporation, Australian Government, Canberra. https://agrifutures.com.au/wp-content/uploads/publications/14-007.pdf

Herring, M. W., Robinson, W., Zander, K. K., & Garnett, S.T., (2019). Rice fields support the global stronghold for an endangered waterbird. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 284: 106599. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2019.106599

Herring, M.W., Barratt, P., Burbidge, A.H., Carey, M., Clarke, A., Comer, S., Green, B., Pickering, R., Purnell, C., Silcocks, A., Stokes, V., Znidersic, E., Jaensch, R.P., Garnett, S.T., (2021). Australasian Bittern Botaurus poiciloptilus. In The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2020. (Eds. S.T. Garnett and G.B. Baker) pp. 222–224. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.
Name Withheld
Object
GULGONG , New South Wales
Message
I object to the building of the over 500km EnergyConnect (NSW-Eastern Section) project high voltage transmission line because it:

• supports more "renewables" which in turn support the continuation of slave labour, for example: the artisanal mining by children and adults of cobalt in the DRC and the use of Uyghur people in China, the largest manufacturer of wind and solar components in the world.

• will add to the risk of starting fires in wilderness and vulnerable rural land areas

• is intended to allow more devastation of wildlife and farmland by intermittent wind, solar and battery electricity generating works

• forces up electricity bills by ever increasing supply charges to consumers (our latest rise is 9.5% from March 2021 and 12% the year before that)

• forces up electricity bills for those 3 million households with rooftop solar by continually reducing the feed in tariffs (our latest decease is 29.5% from March 2021 and 24% the year before that), which goes to support inefficient industrial wind and solar electricity generators at the expense of the much cheaper output from households.
Dennis Armstrong
Object
GULGONG , New South Wales
Message
Objection to Project EnergyConnect (NSW-Eastern Section) - SSI-9172452 (EPBC ID No. 2020/8766)

This project proposes it is needed to support the growth of renewable electricity generation, specifically wind and solar. I object to this project for the following reasons:

• impacts on agriculture: Australia has very little land suitable for productive farming, yet more of it is being removed from sustainable food production by renewables projects. All the future renewables projects will be near the proposed transmission line and so reduce even more valuable food production land. Also, even more wildlife habit will be destroyed.

• weather dependent and weather vulnerable: transmission lines and wind and solar works are very vulnerable to weather and therefore lengthy outages can occur; for instance the Beryl solar works near Gulgong has not produced anywhere near its output as stated in its submissions. Since commissioning in June 2019 the reasons given include damage from heavy rain, damage from a lightning strike, lack of predicted hours of sunshine, component failures and the AEMO limiting their output when electricity demand was too low. Non-weather dependent sources of electricity generation are so vulnerable nor require thousands of kilometres of new transmission infrastructure.

• Uncertainty about decommissioning: As an example, Beryl solar works has had three owners since it was approved in December 2017; who will be responsible in 15-20 years time for the very expensive cost of decommissioning, recycling, disposal and land rehabilitation when ownership can change so frequently? In addition, just since late 2018 companies have gone bankrupt or sold and left Australia; no company can guarantee they will be around over such long periods nor are they putting up bonds to cover the eventual removal. NSW EPA legislation makes the ratepayers of a local government area responsible for clean-up if the operator and landowner is unable or unwilling to do the work.


I do hope the DPIE takes our experiences into account. Being in the recently declared Central West Orana Renewable Energy Zone we are being inundated with proposals that would require thousands of square kilometres of agricultural land being removed from economic use, all within a few minutes driving from our town. We hope the southern area of NSW does not go the same way.

Regards
Name Withheld
Object
WARRAWEE , New South Wales
Message
See Attachments - Letter of Objection and Appendix A
Attachments
Charlie Webb
Object
Urana , New South Wales
Message
We object to the location of the proposed transmission line for Section 2 – Coonong Road to transmission line 99A (between Morundah and Lockhart), in particular near Lake Cullivel, Boree Creek, Brookong Creek and in associated wetlands.
Comments, reasons and photographs attached.
Attachments
Name Withheld
Object
THE ENTRANCE , New South Wales
Message
This would be bad for our beautiful land if this goes forward here are some points as to why
- Transgrid acknowledges Agricultural land will be impacted.
- Project Energy Connect will extensively increase inferior, inefficient, unreliable Solar/Wind EG Works & Battery Storage Systems in conjunction with this transmission line & spur on far more tax payer subsidised, ghastly developments "everywhere" throughout NSW (quote Andrew Dyer - AEIC.)
- More than 1500 Hec of native bush land will be impacted (according to ABC Riverina.)
- Has the potential to impact threatened species like the unique Plains Wanderer bird.
- EIS states there is the potential to impact a number of aboriginal sites - 7 scar trees.
- increased fire risk for landholders & rural communities.
- health risks for rural families - at least one I know whose home would be only 300 metres from a massive Transmission tower!
Rafe Champion
Object
NEUTRAL BAY , New South Wales
Message
This project serves no useful purpose while it will consume a great deal of money and cause serious environmental damage.
The purpose is to balance the supply of energy across the NEM to correct imbalances caused by the injection of intermittent solar and wind energy into the system.
The transition to green energy is not sustainable due to the problem of wind droughts, the lack of nuclear power and the lack of extension cords to other countries with a more sustainable mix of power.
Those impediments to the green transition are sketched in the attachment, especially the problem of wind droughts and the lack of feasible and affordable storage at grid scale.
Attachments
LeRoy Currie
Object
Leeton , New South Wales
Message
Re: Project 40021 – SSI -9172452
I object to this project on the following grounds:
1- the granting of licence process is flawed – Australia has less than 6% of its total land mass suitable for arable agriculture – This is not considered by the EIS as governments wish to keep importing migrants, expanding our cities, (again using up valuable ag land) not comprehending that these people must be fed.
This EIS (which is purposely created to be as obstructionist as possible by its sheer size as to be onerous to read and is skewed to the interests of the developer (this is a natural occurrence as you are loyal to who is paying the bill) - therefore the EIS is flawed from the first page.
(a) The EIS does not provide or protect the local shire from picking up the cleanup bill at the end of the effective life of the project such as a slush fund for this purpose controlled by the local council.
(b) local ratepayers foot the bill There is no compensation to the local government when this time arrives for the great quantities of waste that will go into their landfill -
(c) The EIS provides no penalty for failure of not meeting the provisions of the licence
2 - There is no provision for the recycling of expired components.
3 - The loss of income to the local economy is not evaluated properly - The EIS values are incorrect: there is no way that the loss of production from the agricultural land is matched by the solar farm. The flow on loss to the communities of families having to move away affecting schools, and local businesses is non reversible. Much is made of the construction phase of the jobs created, but wakeup to reality: the construction phase is very short lived, the economic loss to the community is not responsibly calculated and the economic loss is ongoing for the life of the project and beyond.
4 - As important, if not more so, is the pollution of agricultural land forever with heavy metal entering the food chain, pulverised glass and uncontrolled weeds. These projects provide the perfect environment for plant growth - many platitudes are provided by the developer in the EIS that these will be controlled by grazing sheep, a few employed “caretakers” - (in reality, this is not economically viable: have a tour of the existing solar disasters and see for yourselves the plant growth)
5 – The impact of the heat island on the local community and local crops (these claims are hotly denied by the developers, but apply some of your own due diligence to find out the truth)
6 – These projects do nothing to help our economy, local or Australia wide, or the CO2 reduction, as the energy expended to create them is more than the energy they produce over their effective life span, but they do enhance the manufacturing countries’ economy at Australia’s expense, as the entire Australian alternative energy growth is subsidised by the Australian taxpayer, as is the alternative energy push is subsidised by tax payers worldwide.
7 – What I do reluctantly agree with is stand alone solar installations for site specific purposes such as commercial entities, pump stations, isolated dwellings, and so on, even roof top installations, but not to the detrimental use of agricultural land!
Stephen Grimes
Object
LOWER SOUTHGATE , New South Wales
Message
Re: Project 40021 – SSI – 9172452.

Lodging an objection to this project
1.Australia has so little suitable arable agricultural land to start with and to forgo any of it to an enterprise that can be located almost anywhere else seems counter intuitive. This doesn’t seem to be properly considered by the EIS; reasonably good agricultural land needs to be thought of and dealt with given different considerations.
2. There is no mention who or what group will foot the bill to clean up and repair the damage to the said land at the end of the expected life term of the project, it could have included a sizable bond for this purpose held possibly by the local council as more than likely they will be the ones who end up repairing the area and rectifying any leftover hazardous foreign matter, contaminants etc.
3.There should be a provision to recycle used or replaced components, otherwise they will likely end up in our council’s landfill and possibly cause future problems due to their plastic and heavy metal makeup...
4. Weed control practices should be included and needs to have regular ongoing recordable monitoring, as weeds and pests can quickly multiply some mechanism in place to report observations and act decisively and appropriately with listed safe methods and safe listed chemicals if needed to ensure eradication before whatever spreads to the surrounding lands and properties.
5. I doubt that these projects do any good on a local or for that matter Statewide energy basis, its reported that the energy needed to create and run them usually far exceeds the energy output delivered by the setup over its life, at best the equation is marginal and, in some cases, reported to be not much better than break even.
6. I wish to say that I am not against solar or wind generation just not in this manner and in inappropriate locations.
Mary Madigan
Object
LANGWARRIN , Victoria
Message
The ProjectEnergyConnect (NSW-Eastern Section) makes absolutely NO SENSE. We are in crisis with massive storms, fire tornadoes, once in a century floods and we are wasting precious time and Billions of Dollars on OLD TECHNOLOGY outdated, unreliable, unsightly, and unsustainable. The ESTIMATED cost to build the ProjectEnergyConnect (NSW Eastern Section) is currently $2,28 BILLION. Surely in 2022 we must open our minds to NEW TECHNOLOGY and a new way of thinking. Why would we pledge upwards of $2.28 billion to outdated thinking. Storms are wilder and maintenance alone for this Transmission line will be massive with no net gain.
We know better and we can do better. THIS IS 2022 !!!!!!
Geoff Hooper
Comment
URANQUINTY , New South Wales
Message
Comments and suggested actions by Transgrid and its contractors are included in the attached document.
Attachments
Name Withheld
Object
walla walla , New South Wales
Message
this should not go ahead , we need our farming land for food and long term environment protection , not short turn gain for $$ what a bloody mess that will be left in 20 years time . who will clean it up when the $$ are made and they walk away, what a JOKE pull your heads out of your $$ pockets and get your glasses on and see what what a mess that will be left for the future of our world!! a toxic tip of land fill!
Name Withheld
Object
walla walla , New South Wales
Message
Never ever should you let our country be sold out to anyone!! these short term money making solar systems are just a joke, the mess that will be left behind in 20 years when they walk away will be a land fill disaster for our local communities that are in these prime farming areas, STOP this rubbish being put on food production land.


NO SOLAR 'PUPPY" FARMS
Name Withheld
Object
walla walla , New South Wales
Message
STOP this rubbish no solar on food production land!!
this is not a rubbish tip
Name Withheld
Object
walla walla , New South Wales
Message
NO SOLAR FARMS IN OUR prime farming land.
Ken Maxwell
Object
BELMONT NORTH , New South Wales
Message
There is a number of aspects of this project that I have concerns and object to this proposal.
1) I am concerned with the ownership of the project. I feel that the successive Governments have allowed the sell off of essential infrastructure to foreign entities. This needs to stop as we, as Australians, have become reliant on foreign entities for our basic needs. Power is a basic need.
2) I am concerned with the proposal damaging our farmland. Another basic need is access to good and healthy food. This proposed project threatens our ability to feed our people and again relying on other countries.
3) I am concerned that the project proposes destroying native bushland.
4) I haven't been convinced of the need to connect NSW and SA. I object on the basis that the benefits have not been adequately demonstrated that they could justify the risks and damage proposed.
It is time to start putting the Australian people first. Decisions need to be made on what is in the best interests of the Australian people NOT foreign entities.

Pagination

Project Details

Application Number
SSI-9172452
EPBC ID Number
2020/8766
Assessment Type
State Significant Infrastructure
Development Type
Electricity supply
Local Government Areas
Wentworth Shire, Balranald Shire, Murray River, Edward River, Hay Shire, Murrumbidgee, Federation, Lockhart Shire, Wagga Wagga City
Decision
Approved
Determination Date
Decider
Minister

Contact Planner

Name
Iwan Davies