The official website for the AusNet project planning to erect 190km of high voltage overhead transmission lines through some of Victoria’s most picturesque countryside.
Plans which have the potential to adversely impact the lives of thousands and degrade the amenity of the countryside for all Australians, need to be challenged.
How has the ‘process’ failed and why is this proposal simply wrong ?
FACTS & FICTION
This is a technical, environmental, commercial, health, safety and legal discussion. Let’s try to separate the facts from the fiction.
For readers who are not familiar with the areas targeted to be impacted, here’s some photos for your consideration.
AusNet Services (previously SP AusNet) is an Australian energy company, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and the Singapore Exchange (SGX).
AusNet Services is currently 31.1% owned by Singapore Power, 19.9% by State Grid Corporation of China and 49% is publicly owned .
Singapore Power is wholly owned by the Singapore government.
State Grid is the state-owned electric utility monopoly of China and the largest utility company in the world.
AusNet might be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, however it would be interesting to know how much of the 49% public shareholding is actually owned by Australian investors, if any.
There is no doubt that this project will benefit Victoria by providing increased capacity for the Melbourne electricity grid, however, how much of the operational profit from this project is actually going to benefit Australians, and at what cost?
Some Considerations To Take Into Account
AusNet is a private company wishing to make money by installing, maintaining and operating an overhead high voltage transmission line , potentially not only at the expense of landholders over which the transmission lines will tower, but also at the expense all Australian’s, who’s views of 190km of the picturesque western Victorian rural landscape will be destroyed for generations to come.
IS THERE AN ALTERNATIVE?
Let’s examine what alternatives are available to AusNET
Who will benefit?
There will be winners and losers from this proposal. This is a view of who may benefit and who will be adversely impacted
Risks to be considered
What are some of the potential risks associated with the plan and can they be adequately mitigated?
what remedies are available?
What potential remedies are available to be pursued by those affected?
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke
(Attributed from a letter addressed to Thomas Mercer)
The only way to make a change is to get involved. If you don’t want massive 85m High Voltage Transmission Lines destroying the amenity of western Victoria, then get involved and make your voice heard.
investigate legal options
Just because it may not have been done before, doesn’t mean it can’t be done now. Compensation is only available to Easement Owners, not neighbours or others impacted. Consider a Class Action as an option to pursue remedies.
Enlist the support of your local, State and Federal representatives. Don’t accept mediocre responses or excuses.
If they are genuine community representatives, then they will be keen to help.
know your rights
As the Legal fraternity will advise, don’t fall victim to commercial bluff tactics. Know what legal options are available to you and if, or when, it is not in your legal interest to respond to requests from AusNet’s project team.
What Victorians Have To Look Forward To
As more and more wind farms are commissioned, they will need to connect to new and existing substations in order to connect to the grid. Do Australians really want to see high voltage towers being erected all over the Victorian countryside?
Wind generators can’t operate underground, but power transmission lines can. For every new cluster of wind turbines, there will potentially be thousands of new high voltage towers needed to service them.
Progressive countries are realising that a sky full of electricity transmission towers is not the answer and that the time to start commissioning underground power transmission systems has arrived. The increased once-off commissioning cost is offset over time by the reduced maintenance and support costs, along with the elimination intangible risks, such as liability for bushfires and their consequences.
Australia consistently purports to be a world leader in innovation, so let’s showcase that here and install these high voltage transmission lines underground.
How much effect does public consultation really have in determining whether projects like this one, modify their practices to take into account affected stakeholder’s concerns?
Is the consultation phase simply a legal ‘tick-in-the-box’ exercise, necessary in order to obtain approvals to apply for easements on targeted properties?
Let’s look at some historical examples to determine whether public feedback had any effect on the outcome.
The regulator’s focus is historically on cost
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) rejects underground options due to cost
power companies prioritise on saving cost
Power companies are open to alternate solutions, however, cost and profits are primary drivers
Historically, unlike in progressive countries, Australian policy and legislation is not supportive of efforts that prioritise preserving nature over short term goals and budgets.
compensation is limited and generally unfair
Compensation historically has only been available to landowners whose land is subject to easements. Neighbours and other parties affected by property devaluation and the destruction of amenity have been ineligible for compensation.
Who Can Help?
The following representatives need to hear your concerns. Don’t leave it for someone else, or nothing will happen. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard for the best outcome to be achieved, otherwise this project will ‘steam-roll’ ahead,
with or without your involvement.
AusNet have reached out for community consultation and NOW is your ONLY opportunity to have any say. One person won’t make any difference, but an entire community may.
Latest news from our blog
This site aims to provide a central hub for information to the public about the proposed Western Victoria Transmission Network Project (WVTNP), which is in the process of seeking approval to commission a network of extra high voltage overhead electricity transmission towers, between Ararat and Sydenham in Victoria, Australia.
The WVTNP is only one part of a series of State and National projects, whose aim is to provide interconnectivity for regional renewable energy hubs in order to transport the electricity generated by them to the Statewide grid.
The public have recently been advised that the project is now in the consultation phase and landowners whose land is in scope for potential easement applications have been approached by AusNet, advising them of the fact that their land is in the path of the proposed transmission line.