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  • Powering Sydney’s Future

    Early Engagement and Feedback Report December 2014

  • Sydney is the largest city in Australia and the inner Sydney area comprises of over 500,000 households and businesses consuming around 7,000 GWh of electrical energy each year.

    TransGrid and Ausgrid are responsible for the supply of electricity to the inner Sydney area and maintaining the intricate network of underground cables and overhead lines throughout the city.

    As the city grows and changes, the electricity network that was predominately built in the 1950s faces increased challenges to maintain a safe, reliable and efficient supply of electricity while meeting the needs of the changing market and consumers.

    Through the Powering Sydney’s Future Project, TransGrid have responded to the changing environment of the electricity industry and adopted an adaptive planning approach that invited stakeholders and the community to engage in an open and transparent process.

    Through this early planning and engagement we have deferred capital investment to further explore non-network alternatives.

    1. Overview

    Powering Sydney’s Future – Early Engagement and Feedback Report

  • Five key initiatives have been identified that may contribute to a solution for inner Sydney’s electricity network: energy efficiency, network planning, local generation, reliability standards, and demand response. The early engagement focused on these initiatives, working with stakeholders and the community to gather feedback to better inform planning.

    Between April and October 2014, a range of engagement activities took place including workshops, information sessions, surveys and briefings. Through this engagement we have received feedback from over 350 people through 10 different engagement activities.

    Some of the key themes from the feedback were to:

    > ensure responsiveness in a network solution

    > continue to advocate for non-network initiatives

    > drive innovation to develop the most efficient solution for a changing environment

    > continue to engage and collaborate with stakeholders and the community

    > advocate to improve regulatory incentives.

    Since these engagement activities we have received updated forecast information for the inner Sydney area which indicates a lower peak demand and a slower rate of growth over the coming decade. This means that demand management is likely to meet the project constraint for several years. This will defer the need to commit to capital investment until 2019 and possibly beyond.

    We are responding to this new forecast and focusing on the development of demand management initiatives. In the next 12 months we will also address key feedback from stakeholders through innovation research, planning for alternatives, advocacy for reliability at an efficient cost and continued engagement.

    There is no doubt that the electricity industry is changing, not only with new innovations but also the expectations and involvement from a wider range of stakeholders. We are committed to moving with this change, finding innovative solutions to use more of what we have, so we can build less. We want to bring our stakeholders and communities with us on this journey to enable users to shape their own energy future.

    Through the Powering Sydney’s Future Project, TransGrid have responded to the changing environment of the electricity industry and adopted an adaptive planning approach.


  • The Powering Sydney’s Future Project is about securing a reliable, safe and economical electricity supply to inner Sydney for the next 20 years and beyond. The precise solution and timing depends on a number of variables including demand forecasts and reviews of asset conditions.

    2. Introduction and engagement

    2 Powering Sydney’s Future – Early Engagement and Feedback Report

  • The five initiatives Planning inner Sydney’s future electricity network has provided the opportunity to consider a range of alternatives and a move to a new way of thinking and planning. The following five key initiatives have been investigated as part of a possible solution:

    > Energy efficiency – technology changes or social trends to use less energy and achieve the same outcome

    > Demand response – working with customers to monitor and reduce energy use during times of peak demand

    > Reliability standards – agreeing to a different level of reliability (e.g. requires fewer electricity network assets at the risk of more outages)

    > Local generation – installing local generation can help supply local energy and reduce the demand on the network

    > Network planning – reinforcing the network by renewing the existing underground cables or installing a new underground cable into Sydney.

    TransGrid is committed to an effective stakeholder engagement process that is proactive, transparent and represents a genuine desire to inform, consult and collaborate with interested parties. We recognise that two-way communication is the key to building long-term relationships with communities directly and indirectly affected by our current and future operations.

    The engagement approach for the Powering Sydney’s Future Project has been based on TransGrid’s four-staged engagement process (see Table 1).Throughout the early engagement, TransGrid raised awareness about the project and proactively sought stakeholder and community feedback to assist with project planning. The early engagement aimed to:

    > introduce the project drivers to stakeholders and the community

    > investigate the possible network and non-network initiatives being considered as part of the solution

    > raise awareness of TransGrid’s planning processes and its revised engagement approach.

    Network Planning

    Energy Efficiency

    Demand Response

    Reliability Standards

    Local Generation

    Table 1: Planning cycle





    3Introduction and engagement

  • A range of engagement activities were designed to educate, inform and seek feedback about the expected network constraint in the inner Sydney area and the need to start looking at possible solutions.

    The target audience for this project included those who live, work or govern the inner Sydney area as they face the supply constraint. Inner western Sydney communities were also targeted as they may be impacted by a possible network solution.

    Industry, research and consumer advocacy stakeholders were also targeted to capture their technical knowledge and experience for the project.

    By targeting a wide range of stakeholders during the early planning phase, we aimed to raise general awareness of the project need and gather a range of feedback to better inform project planning and decision making.

    3. Engagement activities

    4 Powering Sydney’s Future – Early Engagement and Feedback Report

  • Table 2: Stakeholder and engagement activities matrix

    E ar


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    fin gs

    P ro

    je ct


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    In tr

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    to ry


    ru m

    O nl

    in e

    su rv


    P ro

    je ct


    w sl

    et te


    In iti

    at iv

    e w

    or ks

    ho ps

    C om

    m un


    in fo

    s es

    si on


    M ed

    ia a


    ad ve

    rt is

    in g

    S oc

    ia l

    m ed


    General public/ all stakeholders

    MPs (state and federal)

    State departments

    Local council

    Affected residents

    Local businesses


    Academic and research

    Consumer advocacy groups

    5Engagement activities

  • “ This is a fabulous opportunity; something that could be showcased globally, and that Australians could be proud of and want to emulate elsewhere – be brave and please make an investment in a sustainable future for all of us!”

    3.1 Early briefings

    During the first quarter of 2014, TransGrid representatives met with local councils throughout the inner Sydney and inner western Sydney areas to introduce the Powering Sydney’s Future Project and to seek input on the most effective ways to reach communities and stakeholders.

    The feedback collected through these discussions informed the development of the stakeholder and community engagement strategy and also guided the messaging, material and activities. TransGrid met with the following councils and relevant organisations:

    > Ashfield Council > City of Bankstown > City of Canterbury > City of Sydney > Marrickville Council > Municipality of Burwood > Randwick City Council > Strathfield Council > Southern Sydney Regional

    Organisation of Council (SSROC) > Waverley Municipal City Council > Woollahra Municipal Council.

    3.2 Introductory forum

    An introductory forum was held on Thursday 19 June 2014. The forum brought together almost 100 representatives including consumer adv