Planning Minister Mick Gentleman has used his call-in powers to approve construction of a new substation, lines and towers to create a second electricity supply for the ACT.
Development applications had been lodged for the construction of the Stockdill Substation, near Stockdill Drive in West Belconnen, as well as transmission lines and towers that will connect existing electrical infrastructure with the new infrastructure.
The project is a joint undertaking by TransGrid, the ACT Government and Evoenergy.
Concerns about the project included its proximity to the new housing estates in the area, its impacts on the Little Eagle and the known bushfire danger.
But Mr Gentleman said Canberrans would have a more secure energy supply with the new infrastructure, which would also protect against possible future outages.
“The construction of a second separate electricity supply for the ACT is crucial to safeguarding the network against future disruptions, such as storms and fires. It will provide substantial benefits for residents, businesses and essential government services, such as hospitals and security agencies, by securing the electricity network,” he said.
“I have used my call-in powers to ensure that construction can commence as soon as possible and that utility providers can meet their obligations under the ACT Electricity Transmission Supply Code (2016) to provide customers in the ACT with a secure electricity supply.”
Under section 159 of the Planning and Development Act 2007, the Minister can ‘call-in’ and approve an application that responds to a major policy issue, has a substantial effect on achieving objectives of the Territory Plan or provides a substantial public benefit.
Mr Gentleman said the proposal was submitted as a concurrent Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and two impact track development applications, which required the highest level of scrutiny and consultation.
“I have considered the application and independent assessment that was undertaken by the planning and land authority. The authority’s expert advice was extensive in relation to the development applications and also considered matters raised during the EIS process which were incorporated into the decisions,” he said.
“The proposal has undergone significant community consultation through the EIS and development application processes. I have considered the community feedback on the proposal and I am confident that the final alignment has the least impact of the options available.”
The project is due to be completed by June 2020.