The Australian Energy Market Operator has been commissioned by the government to invite tenders for the projects

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Victoria seeks tenders for six grid upgrade projects to accelerate REZs. (Credit: Andrew Martin from Pixabay)

The Victorian government has unveiled six new grid upgrade projects in the Australian state, as part of stage one of the AUD540m ($400.9m) Renewable Energy Zones (REZs).

According to the government, the projects will help the state’s grid to brace up for the huge load of renewable energy estimated to be generated by future projects.

The projects are not only expected to modernise the state’s electricity grid, but also unlock new renewable energy investment.

Of the six projects announced, three are infrastructure-related which will work like ‘shock absorbers’ to smoothen out higher and lower rates of energy flowing through the transmission lines.

According to the government, the grid upgrade projects will make it easier for clean energy to enter the power grid.

The other three projects involve upgrading the transmission network to boost the capacity of existing lines. The upgrades will enable the transmission lines to carry higher energy loads, thereby pumping more renewable power in Victoria.

The Victorian government said that the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has been commissioned to invite tenders for the six grid upgrade projects.

Victoria Minister for Energy, Environment, and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said: “These projects are an investment in unlocking the next wave of renewable energy across Victoria. They will ensure we have the transmission needed to harness the sunshine and wind across Victoria.

“This is a clear signal to investors that Victoria is open for business, and ready for new wind and solar projects that create jobs and opportunities in local communities across Victoria.”

The most abundant renewable resources of Victoria are said to be found along the windy Southwest coast, and Western Victoria, in addition to the sunny North-west.

The announced transmission upgrades are expected to enhance and modernise the energy grid in the areas to enable more renewables to flow through the state.

The Andrews Labor Government in the state said that it will continue to review two other network investment projects, namely the Mortlake Turn-in and the Western Victorian Transmission Network Uprate projects.

The two projects are subject to an environment effects statement process, which is currently in progress.

The government said that the works to bolster the power grid will allow it to handle an additional generation of up to 1.5GW. The six projects represent the first phase of a larger plan to unlock up to 10GW across the REZs of Victoria, said the government.

The REZ investment is part of the AUD1.6bn ($1.2bn) clean energy package announced by the Victorian government in late 2020.

The government established a new body called VicGrid to oversee investment decisions pertaining to the REZ Fund.