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Hunter Transmission Project

Shaping the HTP

Engaging early with the community has enabled EnergyCo to collect invaluable local knowledge that has helped shape the design of the Hunter Transmission Project (HTP). 

Read our latest project report, Shaping the HTP.

Community engagement

We invited the community to be part of the vital first steps for the HTP by placing a preliminary corridor on public exhibition between 20 November 2023 and 18 December 2023. 

Our objectives were to: 

  • involve the Hunter community early in the project planning phase
  • explain why the HTP is urgently needed
  • explain how the HTP preliminary corridor was chosen as the most suitable option 
  • seek community feedback that would help us refine the project design (primarily the transmission line route) in a way that minimises impacts and maximises benefits.

Revised corridor

The HTP corridor remains the best option for the new transmission line because it will cause the least impacts on people and the environment. 

Here are just some of the changes: 

  • Around 85% of the HTP will be on power station, government and mining land. 
  • The number of potentially affected private landowners within the corridor has been reduced from 78 (in the preliminary corridor) to less than 25. 
  • Avoiding Cooranbong and Martinsville in HTP South is made possible by building a new substation on a site in the Olney State Forest that was previously used for growing commercial timber. 
  • The new Olney substation allows the HTP to follow a more direct route to the south so the revised corridor is around 15 kilometres shorter at 100km. 
  • The revised corridor minimises impacts in parts of the State forests that are culturally significant for the Aboriginal community and traditional owners, including scenic landscapes or sightlines. 
  • The revised corridor avoids the Jilliby State Conservation Area and other recreation areas including the Pines in the Olney State Forest. 

Read more about how the community has helped shape the HTP in our report Shaping the HTP.

Read Shaping the HTP (May 2024)

View the interactive map

Download a revised corridor map

Read the HTP scoping report

Next steps 

We’re in the planning stage for the HTP. This year we’ll develop an environmental impact statement (EIS) and we’ll continue engaging with the community to look for ways to reduce impacts and make sure the community benefits from the project.

Hunter region transmission line

The Hunter Transmission Project is critical for the transition

As coal-fired power stations close, the HTP is critical for energy security in NSW. 

It involves building a new above-ground 500 kilovolt (kV) transmission line of around 100 kilometres between Bayswater in the Upper Hunter and Olney in the Lower Hunter to connect the State’s existing 500 kV transmission lines. This will help create a 500 kV ring of transmission infrastructure that will provide the backbone of the State’s new electricity grid for generations to come.

Importantly, it will unlock the electricity supply from the Central-West Orana and New England REZs and allow it to be imported to the new electricity grid via Bayswater. From here it will be delivered to consumers in the Hunter, Sydney and Illawarra where 80% of electricity is consumed. 

The HTP is urgent and must be operating by 2028. 

HTP power circle

Strategic importance

Both the NSW Government and Australian Government recognise the strategic importance of the HTP.

At the State level:

  • the Minister for Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Heritage has classified it as a Priority Transmission Infrastructure Project
  • the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces has declared it critical State significant infrastructure.

That means the HTP needs the approval of both ministers following extensive public consultation before it can go ahead.

It also requires the approval of the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Water.

Snowy Mountains wind turbine

NSW is transitioning to a cleaner future

Our ageing coal-fired power stations are reaching the end of their life. Some are closing faster than expected, with most due to shut in the next 10 years. 

At the same time, our demand for electricity is increasing as our population grows and we electrify our vehicles, homes, businesses and industry. 

The NSW Government has a plan to ensure this demand is supplied by renewable energy and to provide cleaner, more affordable and reliable electricity to consumers. 

EnergyCo is leading the implementation of this plan, which involves: 

  • generating electricity (wind and solar) in Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) across NSW 
  • improving the reliability of the grid with new storage capacity (batteries and pumped hydro) 
  • building new transmission infrastructure such as the Hunter Transmission Project to deliver clean energy to consumers. 

Find out more about the HTP

Community members were invited to have their say on the HTP preliminary corridor in late 2023

A list of questions and answers about the HTP

More resources about the HTP

How EnergyCo is working with the HTP community

Treading lightly to minimise environmental impacts

Early investigations and feedback helped us to avoid important environmental areas. 

This includes:

  • avoiding the Watagans National Park near Cooranbong
  • minimising the clearing of scarce valley floor vegetation, such as the critically endangered Central Hunter Valley eucalyptus forest woodland and Warkworth Sands Woodland
  • minimising the removal of critical habitat for key threatened species, such as the regent honeyeater and swift parrot
  • protecting scenic landscapes and culturally sensitive areas.

We're continuing to work with all stakeholders including the community, National Parks and Wildlife Service, and Forestry Corporation to avoid and minimise potential impacts on plants and animals, and Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Alternative corridor options

In a region as diverse as the Hunter it is difficult to find a suitable route between Bayswater and Eraring.

To guide this search, we developed strategic objectives for the project:

  • maximise the use of power station and mine-owned land, suitable public land and existing transmission easements  
  • minimise significant land use conflicts and impacts on people and the environment  
  • minimise hazards and risks  
  • build community support  
  • deliver the project on time at a reasonable cost to consumers.

We then carried out extensive investigations to identify where the HTP could be located. This included detailed electricity system planning, strategic land use planning, engineering and environmental studies (bushfire, biodiversity, heritage and visual) and consultation with key stakeholders such as local councils.  

Initially, we divided the Hunter into 3 broad strategic corridors (northern, central and southern) and examined the suitability of each corridor. We rejected the northern and central corridors as they would both result in significant land use conflicts and impacts to people in the urban areas between Singleton and Newcastle as well as the Pokolbin wine/tourist area.  

Using the northern corridor would also involve building a much longer and more expensive transmission line. This led us to examine multiple options in the southern corridor. 

Hunter Transmission Project - alternative route options

 

Map shows initial investigations to find a suitable corridor for the HTP. Please see the revised HTP corridor for the most up-to-date version.

 

Using the strategic objectives, we assessed and rejected a number of alternative options for the HTP preliminary corridor.  

The existing 330 kV transmission easement between Bayswater and Richmond Vale  

This option would be more expensive because the existing lines would need to be taken down and rebuilt to create space for the HTP. It would also take longer, ruling out any likelihood of delivering the HTP by early 2028. This is because the existing lines are essential for supplying electricity to Newcastle, making it difficult to secure the outages needed to construct the new transmission line. Finally, it would increase energy security risks in NSW by concentrating all electricity supply between Bayswater and Newcastle in a single easement.  

Next to the existing 330 kV transmission easement  

This option would cause significant land use conflicts in the Pokolbin wine/tourist area. It would also cause extensive clearing of endangered valley floor vegetation. This includes the Warkworth Sands Woodland and Central Hunter Valley Eucalyptus Forest and Woodland in areas such as the Singleton Military Area, Werakata State Conservation Area (SCA) and Werakata National Park.  

The bushland to the south of the Pokolbin wine/tourist area  

This option would result in even greater clearing of endangered valley floor vegetation in the Werakata SCA and Werakata National Park. This vegetation provides critical habitat for several threatened species such as the Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater. This option would also cause significant landscape-wide visual impacts in the rural-residential areas around Ellalong and Quorrobolong.  

The valley further south of the Pokolbin wine/tourist area  

This option would result in significant land use conflicts with the growing residential areas around Millfield and Mount View. It would also cause significant landscape wide visual impacts in the rural-residential areas around Ellalong and Quorrobolong. 

Video gallery

Contact us

If you have any questions about the Hunter Transmission Project or would like to provide feedback, please contact us.

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 1800 645 972 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)

You can also register for email updates here