Power project a jobs boon

The 500kV line would pass through Yaven Creek and Gilmore.

A Controversial project to build 500kV power lines through the Snowy Valleys and eventually connect Snowy 2.0 with the wider energy grid is projected to create 1220 jobs, mostly in regional NSW.

Energy infrastructure company TransGrid says the jobs created by the ‘HumeLink’ project during its construction will mostly be located in areas like the Snowy Valleys, Wagga and Yass LGA’s.

“In late 2022, TransGrid plans to appoint a lead contractor to build HumeLink and they will be encouraged to use local suppliers whenever possible,” said spokeswoman Michelle Stone.

The project is yet to be approved by the Australian Energy Regulator, and local landholders are deep in discussion with the company about the power lines’ proposed route, having lambasted the project for traversing prime agricultural land and criticising TransGrid’s public consultation approach so far.

But Ms Stone said if the project is approved, the lead contractor will advertise work packages locally and local businesses will be encouraged to submit Expressions of Interest (EOI).

Work packages will include civil engineering services, earthmoving, quarry products, haulage, logistics, traffic management, concreting, fencing, workforce accommodation and other similar project needs. 

“Jobs will range from unskilled jobs on construction crews, skilled construction support services to tertiary-qualified professional services,” said Ms Stone.

TransGrid’s Reconciliation Action Plan will also specifically invite participation from local Aboriginal businesses.

“This month, TransGrid staff and consultants will start visiting the area for environmental studies and investigative work,” said Ms Stone. “Our use of local accommodation and other services will continue to increase until construction starts.”

Ms Stone said TransGrid’s Project EnergyConnect has used a similar approach, estimating 1500 jobs will be created through the construction of a 900 kilometre link between Robertstown, SA, and Wagga.

“We are encouraging Australian businesses to get involved in EnergyConnect,” said TransGrid’s Executive Manager of Major Projects Sean McGoldrick.

The company said the new powerline will “enable the sharing of energy between NSW, Victoria and South Australia, lower wholesale energy costs and support growth in renewable energy generation.”

“Energy Connect will… deliver an economic benefit to NSW of $4 billion. More than 410 businesses have already registered 676 expressions of interest (EOI) and we hope to see more before the end of the month,” said Mr McGoldrick.

EnergyConnect is due to be fully commissioned by 2023.

Subject to approvals, HumeLink construction is planned to start in 2022, with the project to be commissioned in 2025.