The Marinus Link is progressing through its design and approvals phase, with the $5.5 million tender awarded for underwater geotechnical surveys.

The Australian company, MMA Offshore, has won the $5.5 million contract to carry out critical engineering surveys, known as the Marine Engineering Geotechnical Site Investigation (MEGSI).

The Marinus Link interconnector is a $3.5 billon proposed 1500MW electricity and telecommunications connection between Victoria and Tasmania, including transmission network developments in Tasmania’s North West.

Marinus Link involves about 255km of undersea High Voltage Direct Current cable and about 90km of underground HVDC cable in Victoria.

The expert crew aboard the survey ship ‘TEK Ocean Spirit’ will leave from Burnie Port in January 2022 and take between four to six weeks, depending on weather conditions, to survey the 255km between Heybridge in north west Tasmania and Waratah Bay in South Gippsland, Victoria.

The survey will be conducted on approximately 110 sites across Bass Strait, in sea depths up to 80m and is the third marine survey, including a recent ecology survey, undertaken to determine the most suitable corridor for Marinus Link’s undersea cables to be sensitively buried.

Marinus Link CEO, Bess Clark, said this latest tender award demonstrates that Marinus Link is committed to rigorous technical processes to sensitively design and build this national-priority infrastructure.

“Marinus Link is the key to unlocking the deep storage of the Battery of the Nation for mainland Australia – increasing reliability, keeping electricity prices lower and significantly boosting access to renewable energy,” Ms Clark said.

“Along with downward pressure on prices and increased reliability, Marinus Link will also cut emissions, create 2,800 direct and indirect jobs in both Tasmania and Victoria, attract billions of dollars in regional investment to both states and unlock a pipeline of future renewable energy development.”

The 87m survey ship and its crew from Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria will be based in Burnie during the 39-day survey program.

Burnie City Council Mayor, Steve Kons, said, “With Burnie as the home port for the Ocean Spirit from mid-January, the Burnie economy can expect a post-Christmas boost as the ship crew source all its requirements such fuel, food and services from Burnie businesses.”

Burnie residents will be able to see the vessel do its work off the former Tioxide site where the proposed Marinus Link converter stations are planned to be built.

“We are proud to be supporting Australian businesses as we progress a critical piece of the nation’s clean electricity grid,” Ms Clark said.

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