The public have an opportunity to attend drop-in sessions and make submissions on the proposed Hunter Transmission Project.
The Hunter Transmission Project (HTP) involves building a new aboveground 500 kilovolt (kV) transmission line of around 115 kilometres that will connect Bayswater to Eraring - to connect the state's existing 500 kV transmission lines.
It is described as being one of the most critical pieces of new clean energy transmission infrastructure in Australia.
As coalfired power stations close and NSW transitions to renewable energy moving that power from regional areas, where renewable energy zone are located, to the metropolitan centres becomes vital.
There has been considerable backlash to similar projects in NSW as landholders object to the construction of large transmission infrastructure on their properties.
In the Project's overview it says it will strengthen the State's core electricity grid and supply clean energy to the Hunter, Sydney and Illawarra where 80% of NSW's electricity is consumed.
The preferred route is said to be more than 85 per cent on power station, mining and government land.
The proponents say it also avoids most of the Hunter community, including major towns and villages and avoids the Pokolbin wine/tourist area and other strategic agricultural land.
"Care has been taken to avoid Singleton, visual impacts on Jerrys Plains and Broke, areas with significant heritage values, and clearing endangered valley floor vegetation such as the Warkworth Sands Woodland," they state.
"We have also tried to minimise clearing critical habitat for threatened species such as the Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot. The corridor is wide in the north to allow a suitable alignment to be found through the large open cut coal mines around Bayswater Power Station.
"At this stage, the preferred alignment runs through the middle of the Hunter Valley Operations mine. However, there are significant flooding and geotechnical constraints associated with crossing the Hunter River and Wollombi Brook in this location which will require further assessment. We're working closely with the mine to address these constraints."
The state government has set an early 2028 deadline for this multi-billion dollar project, which will play an instrumental role in transporting renewable energy from the New England and Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zones to homes and businesses in the Hunter, Sydney and the Illawarra.
The current preferred route for this new infrastructure includes mining and industrial land, state forest and private property. Between Bayswater and Broke, the corridor runs mostly through land owned by power stations and mining companies. It then heads into the Pokolbin, Corrabare and Olney State forests, before following the existing 500 kV transmission line through Martinsville and Cooranbong to Eraring.
The proposed 115 kilometre route is now on public exhibition for community feedback until 18 December. To find more about the project, community sessions, submissions and plans at energyco.nsw.gov.au/htp.
Energy Co are also hosting drop in sessions next week where people can speak to members of the project team on the following dates and times:
- 5 December 2023, 3pm to 7pm: Cooranbong Community Hall, 614 Freemans Drive Cooranbong
- 6 December 2023, 3pm to 7pm: Singleton Youth Venue, corner of Pitt and Bathurst Streets Singleton
- 7 December 2023, 3pm to 7pm: Millfield Community Hall, 25 Bennett Street Millfield
Feedback can be submitted via a range of options, including online submission, written submission form, email or via the short survey. More information can be found here - https://www.energyco.nsw.gov.au/htp-public-exhibition