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The Transgrid Victoria-New South Wales Interconnector (VNI) upgrade project will help lower the cost of wholesale electricity across the National Electricity Market and enable better power flows between Victoria and NSW by unlocking 190MW of additional energy, enough for 30,000 homes. Transgrid will do this, without the need to build additional transmission line infrastructure, by installing clever technology at their substations at Stockdill in the ACT and at Yass in New South Wales. 

For the construction phase of the VNI project, Transgrid contracted Zinfra, a leading national engineering, construction and maintenance service provider. A well-established and trusted partner to the industry, Zinfra is using its expertise and a committed team for the installation of innovative SmartValves technology from Smart Wires at the substations. 

First large-scale installation of SmartValve technology in Australia

The SmartValve technology pulls energy off of congested lines and pushes it onto lines with spare capacity. It will stabilise the grid, reduce congestion and will also enable power from renewable resources to flow from where it’s generated to where it’s most needed.

Zinfra has successfully installed nine SmartValve technology units at the Stockdill substation and is currently preparing for a further six units to be installed at Yass. Each unit weighs in at just over eight tonnes and sits on 6m-high support structures. A corona cage, a steel cage that wraps around each unit, was erected, topping the installation out at almost 10m.

Once the SmartValve technology units are commissioned, they will be the first installed in Australia of this model at this voltage. 

Flexible approach to challenges 

Zinfra’s internal electrical crew successfully delivered the installation at Stockdill safely while managing challenges including restricted daily outages and dealing with new equipment. The experienced and committed Zinfra team continued to deliver, despite the challenges of a COVID-19 lockdown between NSW and the ACT, which saw the crew spend between three to five months on site. 

“Transgrid and Zinfra worked together, despite the many challenges, to support our crew, who went above and beyond for project delivery at Stockdill,” Zinfra Lead Project Engineer, Victor Sayaxang, said. 

“Despite the challenges, the Stockdill project was completed before schedule and informs our work at Yass. This has enhanced Zinfra’s reputation as a delivery partner that can be relied upon to deliver non-standard, complex solutions in challenging circumstances.

Making safety the number one priority

Zinfra continues to ensure that safety remains the number one priority as works continue on the installation of SmartValves technology at the Yass substation.  

“Zinfra has competent resources on the project that provides safety and operational support,” Mr Sayaxang said.

Zinfra and Transgrid worked rigorously together to ensure that the best health and safety systems are in place, with regular communications between the Zinfra team and the workers on-site to ensure compliance. HSE inspections were conducted daily, with findings communicated to the crews and learning outcomes put into action.

“Our approach is that everyone takes responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others. That’s a big part of the positive safety culture that we’ve instilled on this project and other projects that we’ve been working on, whereby everyones’ safety is our individual responsibility,” Mr Sayaxang. 

This sponsored editorial was brought to you by Zinfra. For more information, click here.

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