Victorian Transmission Investment Framework Submission

Victorian Transmission Investment Framework

Transmission investment tests should consider a community-first approach

Energy Grid Alliance appreciate the opportunity to respond to the much-anticipated ‘Victorian Transmission Investment Framework (VTIF)’ consultation process. This is important framework with the improvements it proposes to deliver to Victoria’s energy market and indeed, all Victorians.  In this submission Energy Grid Alliance has responded to questions raised, has provided general observations, and has attached supporting papers relating to social licence, understanding externalities and transmission setback policy guidance.

VTIF Background

The proposed Framework would introduce a strategic and proactive process to ensure timely co-ordination of investment in transmission, generation, and storage infrastructure across Victoria’s REZs, tailored to Victoria’s energy needs. It also seeks to better integrate land use considerations, environmental impacts, and community views into the planning process. This includes opportunities for earlier and deeper engagement with local communities to help better manage impacts and to make the most of regional development opportunities for host communities.

Energy Grid Alliance Response to the VTIF Consultation Paper

Development of the VTIF is an important step in defining the much-needed policy and framework to help redefine Victoria’s future electricity grid. State-level planning, social licence, public policy and environmental considerations are central to the delivery of renewables, associated electricity infrastructure and enabling legislation. Without knowledge of disbenefits, appreciation for empathy, and for those who are adversely impacted to play an instrumental role in effecting change; acquisition of social licence for transmission will be a challenging road indeed.

Thinking about the local community where renewable energy infrastructure is planned to be hosted is important to build trusting relationships with people. This is something the AEMO and its ISP does not do. As the climate emergency worsens, there is too much at stake to adopt the current ‘decide, announce, defend’ method of infrastructure roll-out. It’s encouraging to see the Victorian government moving to adopt a community-first approach as this can better build the widespread support needed to accelerate climate action. Adopting a community-first framework, followed by state-level REZ and grid planning will allow Victoria to determine its planning priorities and quantify the true generation and firming capacity. Any need for interconnection (as determined by the ISP) to increase security, reliability and resilience can then be addressed through the ISP once the true level of need and risk of future supply has been identified.

Energy Grid Alliance believe it appropriate that a single entity be responsible for all Victorian transmission planning and investment functions to ensure a holistic, end-to-end process of delivering transmission planning and developing Victoria’s REZs. Energy Grid Alliance recommend the VTIF should replace the current regulatory framework for planning and investment decisions in Victoria. Further to this, Energy Grid Alliance recommends that AEMO rescind its function as Victorian transmission planner.

Energy Grid Alliance support development and implementation of the VTIF and welcome opportunities for further consultation. It is critical that all Victorians play a central role in the delivery of the states future electricity system.

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