A report commissioned by Moorabool Shire Council has promoted running high-voltage transmission lines underground as an alternative to the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project.
Council commissioned the report to investigate the feasibility of running the transmission lines underground, rather than the overhead lines being proposed.
According to the High-Level HVDC Alternative Scoping Report, the underground alternative is technically feasible and 'likely to be more reliable and efficient'.
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The report, conducted by Amplitude Consultants, also estimated the cost of the underground option to be about $2.7 billion, more than five times the cost of the preferred overhead option.
In a media release, council said the findings of this report and another commissioned in September 2020, validated the undergrounding of the transmission lines.
Moorabool Shire Council chief executive Derek Madden said it was time to get serious about constructing the infrastructure underground.
"We have not only shown that it can happen, but it is a better solution - and not the 10 times more expensive that is quoted by both AEMO and AusNet," he said.
Federal member for Ballarat Catherine King said she had serious concerns about the impact the route would have on farming operations.
"Overhead lines might be the cheapest option, but I am not convinced they are the best option. Wherever possible, the transmission lines should be run underground," she said.
"Farmers and landholders all along the route continually raise concerns with me about this project. I'll keep listening to them and standing up to make sure they are not ignored."
In a statement, AusNet said the report was based on a number of assumptions.
"We note the report commissioned by the Moorabool Council is based on a number of assumptions," the statement said.
"We will consider the information in the report under the requirements of the EES we are currently conducting."
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