TransGrid supports expanding interconnector, will Powerlink follow?


The Australian Institute for Progress welcomes TransGrid’s support for the idea we floated two weeks ago of adding capacity to the Queensland New South Wales Interconnector to compensate for the probable closure of the Liddell power station and calls on Powerlink, and the Queensland government, to state their positions.


  • AGL is proposing to close its Liddell power station, and Energy Australia’s Mt Piper may be forced to close because of a court action brought by activists limiting their access to coal. Combined this will remove 3400 MW of power generation leaving a shortfall of between 900 and 3400 between now and 2022.
  • Queensland has a power generation surplus of 500 to 2500 MW so could meet a significant portion of that deficit.
  • Renewables cannot fill the gap, and a new coal-fired generator could take 7 years to build. Gas-fired generation could be built faster, but would be two to three times more expensive.
  • Currently the interconnector between Queensland and New South Wales has maximum transfer capacity of 1200 MW.
  • TransGrid, who with Powerlink, owns and operates the interconnector, estimates that 500 MWs could be added to it at a cost of $700m, which would be cheaper than building a new power station. This is an option TransGrid wants to explore.
  • The AIP suggested this course of action on September 13 as a proposition that is best for Queensland and New South Wales.
  • The Queensland government owns most of the power generation needed and operating it at higher capacity would allow it to lower prices for Queenslanders while more than compensating it with earnings from New South Wales consumers.
  • Duplication of the interconnector would enhance the feasibility of a new Queensland HELE coal-fired power generator, with 50% lower CO2 emissions than a conventional generator.


“This proposal is a win/win solution, promising power for New South Wales consumers, at the same time as it lowers prices for Queensland consumers.

“It is a good first step to making Queensland the power house of Australia.”