Vic Govt proposes major changes to energy infrastructure

Monday, 11 March, 2024

Vic Govt proposes major changes to energy infrastructure

The Victorian Government is seeking to make a significant change to the way energy infrastructure is planned in Victoria through its National Electricity (Victoria) Amendment (VicGrid) Bill 2024, introduced by Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio.

“Victoria is undergoing a once-in-a-generation energy transition. We’re making the community central to this and doing things differently to make sure it’s done right,” D’Ambrosio said.

Under the proposed amendment, VicGrid will undertake all planning and consultation on energy projects, ensuring that community views are taken into account at the start of the planning process.

This means that only projects that have been through community consultation undertaken by VicGrid — not by the private developer — can be put to tender for development.

Under the legislation, VicGrid will implement the new Victorian Transmission Infrastructure Framework (VTIF) — which includes meaningful community engagement and benefit-sharing arrangements for the farmers, communities and Traditional Owners hosting new transmission lines.

The Bill also locks in payments for landholders who host energy infrastructure, amounting to $200,000 per kilometre of new transmission hosted. Indexed and paid over 25 years, these payments are in addition to compensation paid to landholders for the impact of infrastructure on their land.

The government said that the next stages of VTIF will include community funds to ensure the regions hosting energy infrastructure also see meaningful and lasting benefits from the energy transition. VicGrid will be consulting on these arrangements throughout 2024.

In addition to the proposed VicGrid amendment, the government is introducing two more bills in relation to energy infrastructure.

The Energy and Public Land Legislation Amendment (Enabling Offshore Wind Energy) Bill 2024 makes provision for the inclusion of offshore wind in the state’s network. The bill will allow offshore wind developers to obtain long-term tenure over public land for offshore electricity infrastructure.

The National Energy Retail Law (Victoria) Bill 2024 will make the Australian Energy Regulator responsible for ensuring Victorians are not left in the dark if their energy provider goes under. If an energy provider goes under, the AER will automatically transfer customers to another provider.

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