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Upgrade paves way for growth

A proposed upgrade to the South Australian-Victorian Heywood electricity interconnector is set to drive economic benefits across the state by increasing transfer capability between the states by 40pc.

The proposal would increase the imports of lower-cost generation into South Australia and allow for increased wind energy exports.

Transmission company ElectraNet claims the upgrade would lift constraints on wind energy in the South East.

“The work that will be done will actually remove some of the constraints and would allow additional wind generation in the South East,” ElectraNet acting chief executive Rainer Korte said.

“While there is currently enough infrastructure to support wind energy in the South East, the upgrade will allow for more infrastructure in the area.”

High electricity prices on peak use days are also expected to end with the upgrade providing greater import capacity, according to Mr Korte.

“It will mean that when we have high demand for electricity on hot summer days there will be greater capacity to import electricity from Victoria,” Mr Korte said.

“Conversely at times of light demand at night or when the weather is not extreme we will have a lot of wind generation in the state that can generate cheaper power.”

Grant District Mayor Richard Sage said he was pleased with the proposal and hoped it would attract more business to the region.

“I’d like to see the infrastructure upgrade for power generation in Mount Gambier to produce more power and attract more business to the area,” he said.

Mr Sage said he would also support infrastructure to allow greater generation of wave energy from Port MacDonnell.

“With the wave energy in Port MacDonnell, we know we can only put in one or two wave generators before we need to upgrade the lines,” he said.

“Because if the hose is full of water you can’t put more water into it and it is the same for energy.”

The preferred option for the upgrade would see the installation of a third transformer at Heywood and a boost of transmission lines in South Australia.

The upgrade is expected to be finished in July, 2016, with market benefits of more than $190m over the life of the project.