A central Victorian shire has expressed its concern over another proposed high-voltage electricity transmission line, planned to run from the north of the state to a site five kilometres from Daylesford.
Transgrid's Victoria-NSW Interconnector (VNI) West project, from the Snowy Mountains, through Kerang and then to Mount Prospect has been declared a project of national significance, by state and federal energy ministers.
Hepburn Shire wants the VNI to be placed underground.
It has also backed the Stop AusNet's Towers group, in also calling for the Western Renewables Link to go underground.
Hepburn deputy mayor Councillor Jen Bray said communities such as Yandoit, Franklinford, Clydesdale, Blampied, Basalt, Eganstown, Werona, Kooroocheang and Shepherd's flat were now in the "firing line.
"Hepburn Shire is in strong support for the need for renewable energy to move away from fossil fuels," Cr Bray said.
"However, we believe there is a need to look for alternatives to above-ground infrastructure where farming, environment, landscape, tourism and community livelihoods and well-being will be significantly impacted."
The council was concerned the VNI would bisect the shire, with the line running to the proposed transmission station at Mt Prospect, near Newlyn.
"The location of this transfer station will only increase the possibility of our shire being crisscrossed by even more by these lines," Cr Bray said.
"We have made our position clear that we are strongly opposed to transmission lines being above ground and along the route proposed for the Western Renewables Link (formerly Western Victoria Transmission Network Project).
"We are of the same view in relation to VNI West," said Cr Bray.
In a Project Assessment Draft Report (PADR) Transgrid and AEMO Victorian Planning (AVP) made the case for the interconnector as a "critical part" of a more secure grid for the eastern seaboard, and for the smooth transition to renewables.
AEMO and Transgrid are jointly undertaking the Victoria to New South Wales interconnector Upgrade Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) to assess the technical and economic viability of alleviating power transfer capacity limitations between the two states.
It comes as the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner reported 111 new complaints, relating to three proposed large-scale transmission projects last year.
Commissioner Andrew Dyer reported the complaints were mainly from Victoria and came from landholders and other affected community members.
The commission seeks to facilitate the referral and resolution of complaints about operating wind farms, large-scale solar farms and batteries and transmission projects.
Cr Bray said the council was taking the matter very seriously.
"The key thing there is where they want to put the transmission station - they want to stick it right in the middle of our best agricultural and potato farming land."
She said the proposed transmission station was five minutes from Daylesford.
The shire would help residents put in submissions to the Environmental Effects Study for the western link, arguing that it be placed underground.
It would also be putting in its own submission and raising questions about the location of the transmission station
Cr Dyer said the shire was strongly advising residents to inform themselves about the project.
Translink was currently looking at the financial viability of the project, she said.
"They have to work out a business case, but of course, the main thing they are looking at is the cost to consumers for electricity prices," she said.
"They are not actually looking at the cost to the community, on its livelihood
"How do farmers continue to operate with this infrastructure on their properties and how that might impact on their margins?"
Meanwhile, Tasmanian Energy Minister Guy Barnett said the declaration of transmission projects as being of national significance would allow their delivery to be accelerated.
"The details of the National Energy Transition Partnership and what it means will be worked through at the national level and in consultation with state governments and we look forward to working with the commonwealth government on this," Mr Barnett said.