While a shock to many it is no surprise to Walcha Energy. Walcha Energy have been lobbying the government for years to bring powerlines to the Walcha district. Make no mistake - these powerlines are following the Walcha Energy projects based on advice from Walcha Energy. And this is just stage one. We understand there are likely to be more powerlines coming through the Walcha LGA in later stages of development.
Note ... this is a recommendationfrom Walcha Energy, not EnergyCo.
If EnergyCo follow recommendations by Walcha Energy, we are likely to see 2 double 500kV lines and a double 330kV line traversing our LGA. This is what 330kV and 500kV towers look like, up to 80m high (right).
We have real concerns that Walcha Energy are facilitating the construction of the main Queensland NSW Interconnector Line through the Walcha Plateau. Rather than following the existing path from Queensland via Armidale and Tamworth down to the Hunter, the double 330kV Line would go via Inverell, through the Uralla Hub and down through the Walcha LGA.
Did Walcha Energy consult with the Walcha community about this?
Walcha Energy have suggested changing the route “due to its sensitive terrain and impacts on threatened species, forested land, small rural communities, and rural residential areas near Armidale.” ***
This is a plan submitted in 2019, and another example of Walcha Energy lobbying for powerlines to be brought through the Walcha LGA. The map of this plan, submitted by Walcha Energy, is shown right.
Is this what we want for Walcha?
The only reason these lines are coming to Walcha is because Walcha Energy have been promoting overly ambitious unrealistic levels of renewable development in our LGA and lobbying the government to divert powerlines through the Walcha LGA. Walcha Energy claim that these decisions have been made by EnergyCo and are out of our hands. This is not true. These powerlines are following the projects being proposed by Walcha Energy.
Is there a choice?
Because transmission lines are critical infrastructure, landholders can not refuse to host the lines. However, if landholders refuse to host renewable projects, there will be no need for the lines to follow these projects. No projects – no powerlines. If you do not want to host powerlines, do not agree to host wind turbines or solar projects. If there are no new projects in Walcha, the new transmission infrastructure will follow the existing lines well west of Walcha. Surely this is the sensible option for Walcha - and for taxpayers.
Why have Walcha Energy not spoken to the Walcha Community before lobbying for this transmission plan?
Why has Walcha Energy claimed that they are simply placing projects where Energy Co are likely to run transmission lines? when this is simply not the case.
Why are Walcha Energy devising such major disruptions to the Walcha landscape, affecting everyone, behind closed doors?
What can we do?
Importantly, attend the EnergyCo meeting Thursday 11-2 or 3-6pm Walcha Bowling Club, to demonstrate that Walcha does not want this invasive infrastructure built here. Also talk to your neighbours, have the necessary conversations. Without community input into the conversation, the red carpet will be rolled out for the developer. Secrecy erodes community, and it is not our style.