Straight shot: The potential route for the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project. Image: SUPPLIED

Powerline path to run north of city

June 25, 2020 BY

A HIGH voltage transmission powerline set to run from Bulgana just north east of Ararat to Sydenham in Melbourne’s west could potentially cut through the north of Ballarat.

The 190-kilometre long project is being built by electricity infrastructure company AusNet Services and will include a substation somewhere north of Ballarat.

500-kilovolt electricity towers on the Moorabool to Mortlake and Moorabool to Tarrone transmission lines. Photo: FILE

An AusNet spokesperson said that that company was currently engaging in community consultation on the project.

“Community input is fundamental. We warmly welcome anyone with an interest in the project to visit our website, where you can learn more about the project and have your say,” said Chad Hymas, AusNet’s executive general manager of growth and future networks.

“This project is all about Victoria’s energy future, unlocking renewable sources and bringing major economic investment to western Victoria and its local economy.”

The proposed powerline will start as 115 kilometres of 220-kilovolt towers at Bulgana and connect to a yet to be built substation north of Ballarat.

From there it’ll turn into a 500-kilovolt double circuit line for the 75-kilometre stretch to Sydenham and is planned to be fully operational by 2025.

An AusNet map showing potential locations for the substation includes parts of Invermay, Miners Rest, Creswick and Allendale. The proposed overall route for the powerlines goes though Melton, Ballan, north of Ballarat and then heads west over Waubra and Lexton.

It’s believed there’s a current easement that could be used for the line in the Invermay area.

City of Ballarat mayor Cr Ben Taylor said that the municipality hadn’t had much to do with AusNet so far and council officers had not been tasked to engaged with residents potentially affected.

“We’ve had a briefing in relation those powerlines,” he said. “I haven’t seen that exact location of where that’s happening.

“We’re just waiting to see, this is something that’s been set down by the State government, so we’re working through that because it’s about security of power.

“At the moment council doesn’t have a position on it, this is a project being run by the State government and by AusNet but we’re waiting to see more details.”

While he was unwilling to use strong language to criticise the utility company, Cr Taylor said that AusNet’s engagement with the City had been limited.

“All we have is a map with a very straight line going through not indicating where or what that is,” he said. “Whether it’s existing easement or it’s new easement.

“I won’t say the words appalling, I’d say it’s probably just a process that they [AusNet] are going though. If they’re at the stage of acquisitions, then yes, that would be very disappointing.

“We’d like to see a bit more consultation with residents across the city before that happens.”

Ultimately, Cr Taylor committed to fighting for residents and landowners if they are to be affected by the powerline’s route.

“If there’s a concern to people’s homes and the livelihood of those people that own property in that area, then absolutely we need to work for them,” he said.

You can make a submission to the powerline feedback process via westvictnp.com.au.