Victoria is on the brink of a massive energy market transformation with the construction of new wind and solar power, coupled with hundreds of kilometres of new transmission lines.
The need for an effective and efficient transmission network to transfer energy generated in renewable energy zones to the State power grid is recognised but it is fundamental the impacts on environment and community be considered during the planning process.
The development of the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project (WVTNP), Victoria's 6 Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) and associated renewable energy projects in regional Victoria means new transmission lines are needed to connect generation facilities to the existing network. It is important that the planning, design, consultation and construction phases for these transmission lines recognises the environmental and community impact of introducing new infrastructure into regional landscapes.
It is important that State Planning Policies for Victoria emphasise the key role of planning in the establishment of energy infrastructure and the need to provide policies that allow for creative and innovative responses to energy demand and supply, while addressing potential impacts on communities and the environment.
Lack of planning policies, stakeholder and community engagement may result in material project delays or risk the project not proceeding at all, the results of which will impact the Victorian economy, energy infrastructure investment and energy consumers.
Energy Grid Alliance sees this as an opportunity to establish best planning practices to ensure new transmission line projects are subject to strict setback requirements via the planning permit assessment process, which will in turn deliver planning outcomes that better respond to environment and landscape contexts and community needs.