ElectraNet commits to SA leg of $2.4b power interconnector

The 900-kilometre EnergyConnect cable has been labelled a priority project in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s blueprint for the future power grid.

The project, which would be the first interconnector cable built between Australian states in more than 15 years, has already faced several hikes in the construction budget, causing some energy consumer groups worried about the impact on power bills to question whether it was worthwhile. It was due to get the go-ahead for construction early this year.

Separately, French nuclear energy giant Électricité de France (EDF) has bought its first Australian renewable project – the 280 MW Banana Range wind farm in Queensland – which it will construct, own and operate.

EDF Renewables, the renewable energy subsidiary of the French multinational group, bought the development site from China’s Goldwind Australia and Lacour Energy last Thursday for an undisclosed amount.

Construction will start in the second half of 2022 and is set to cost at least $500 million for the first phase of the development, which is located about 20 kilometres west of Biloela and 120 kms south west of the port of Gladstone, in the Queensland Central Renewable Energy Zone.

EDF will eventually install a battery at the site.

“Phase one of the project will see at least $500 million invested as capital expenditure. Confirmed storage for BESS capacity will be announced once the project has progressed,” said Flannan O’Mahony, general manager of EDF Renewables Australia.

The project received development approval in December 2019 for up to 50 wind turbines, corresponding to a capacity of up to 280 MW.

The multinational was attracted to the site – located in Banana Shire, Central Queensland – because of the “excellent wind resource and proximity to a robust point of connection on the backbone of the transmission network”.

The company has strong positions in offshore wind power, but also in other areas of the renewable energies industry such as energy storage. EDF Renewables develops, builds, operates and maintains renewable energies projects, both for itself and third parties.