The National Farmers Federation is concerned about the significant cost blow-outs associated with the proposed Hume-Link Transmission Line, with costs blowing out by 250% to $3.317 billion.
Proposed transmission lines across Australia within the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) Integrated Systems Plan (ISP) have caused significant issues with land-use conflict amongst farmers, and now are leaving households out of pocket.
“These mega-projects have been thrust on rural and regional communities with little or tokenistic landowner consultations, inadequate compensation, and now will leave energy consumers worse off, with each household liable for an addition $60 a year just to pay for the Hume-Link cost blow out,” NFF CEO Tony Mahar said.
The AEMO has failed to consult and confer with regional and rural representatives, and its big is better mentality towards large-scale renewable energy generation infrastructure has necessitated the need for significant new investments in transmission lines, paid for with a blank cheque by energy users.
“The NFF has long sought for a greater focus on small-scale, mid-scale and community scale renewable projects, that keeps the economic and value-add benefits of projects with local communities, and reduces the need for new transmission lines. It is a shame that AEMO has on the most neglected these opportunities in favour of a bigger is better approach.”
The Australian Local Power Agency proposed by Dr Helen Haines MP can address some of these challenges by developing an agency that is solely focussed on overcoming the regulatory, engineering and financial hurdles for a greater uptake of these small-scale and mid-scale generation opportunities.
“Proposals, such as the Australian Local Power Agency, are needed to address the imbalance towards the promotion of predominantly large-scale energy infrastructure.
“The energy transition should benefit our regional communities and all energy users, not just big energy companies,” Mr Mahar said.
The NFF’s 2030 Roadmap for a $100 billion agriculture industry, includes a goal for Australia’s farm energy sources to be 50% renewable by the same year.