Managing Director of TransGrid, Mr Peter McIntyre and Chief Executive of Powerlink Queensland, Ms Merryn York today announced a possible upgrade of the Queensland NSW Interconnector (QNI).
Initially commissioned in early 2001, the QNI enables the transfer of electricity between Queensland and other states in the National Electricity Market (NEM), which facilitates competition between generation companies across the NEM and helps to minimise electricity costs.
Mr McIntyre said that recent studies undertaken by electricity transmission companies TransGrid and Powerlink had investigated options to further increase the capability of the QNI and suggested a 25 per cent increase is possible by utilising technology new to Australia.
“The increased capacity is likely to be achieved without having to build any new electricity transmission lines. We’re proposing the installation of specialised capacitors on the existing 330kV transmission link to help increase power flows, while still keeping the system stable,” said Mr McIntyre.
Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said modelling work to date showed the market benefits were likely to exceed the costs associated with the project.
“This is a complex project and we need to have it thoroughly evaluated by experts. TransGrid and Powerlink are planning to commence formal consultation on this proposal after Christmas,” said Ms York.
“We must also run it through the Australian Energy Regulator’s Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission and conduct consultation with other interested parties, before we commit to major expenditures,” she said.
Mr McIntyre said this is a good news story for electricity consumers as it should assist in reducing upward pressure on electricity prices.
QNI was commissioned in early 2001, providing a solid link between Queensland to the rest of the National Electricity Market.
Originally capable of delivering around 300 megawatts in either direction, the capacity has been increased since that time to permit more than double these transfers.
The current maximum transfer capacity from Queensland to NSW of around 1,100 megawatts equates to around half the capacity of the largest power station in the country.
Since 2001, most of the capacity gains have been the result of improvements in the electricity systems either side of the main link. This has been made possible by the close co-operation of TransGrid and Powerlink.