A new transformer was recently delivered and installed at AusNet Services’ Richmond Terminal Station with detailed planning and careful stakeholder management proving to be vital to the project’s success.
The new transformer is part of the Richmond Terminal Station rebuild, involving the replacement of the 22kV, 66kV and 220kV Air Insulated Switchgear (AIS) with a mixture of AIS and Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS), along with constructing new buildings to house the switchgear, replacing old transformers and reconfiguring the site layout.
While the rebuild takes place, the terminal station must continue to supply electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which makes the delivery and installation of a new transformer extremely challenging.
As AusNet Services’ delivery partner, Zinfra’s role in the transformer delivery was the coordination of all the stakeholders involved, to ensure alignment of the many moving parts in this large, complex, brownfield project.
Delivery of the single new transformer, weighing 279 tonnes (or roughly 46 elephants) required months of planning and preparation.
Multiply these preparations over the removal and installation of four transformers and this extrapolates to weeks of work just for this aspect of the project.
Planning for a new transformer to be transported to site is a major logistical exercise that starts at least three months before the delivery date and involves a number of vital stakeholders including VicRoads, local councils, delivery partners and local residents.
AusNet Services notified local residents of a ‘no parking’ zone on the streets mapped out on the transport route six weeks before the delivery date and CitiPower and Yarra Trams were asked to lift their powerlines and tram lines so the truck could safely transport the transformer.
Over Dimensional Lift and Shift (ODLS), a specialised transport company, had their trucks certified to ensure the weight of the transformer could be tolerated by the trucks. For this job, a new trailer had to be purchased to extend the length of the truck. Additionally roads and bridges along the route had to be weight checked and tested.
The logistical challenges didn’t stop there. Since there is no crane large enough for this job, once the transformer arrived on site, it was carefully manoeuvred around the live brownfield site, and then set down on specially installed tracks. The heavy equipment was then ‘skated’ along the tracks, and shifted into the transformer bays using hydraulics. This last piece of the process can take up to three working days to perform.
When the new transformer was installed and commissioned, the old transformer was removed and the whole logistics process was performed in reverse. The old transformer was stripped down to parts for reuse and recycling, and the steel core was sent to China where it will be converted into smaller transformers and re-used.
The Richmond Terminal Station rebuild is part of AusNet Services’ Edison Project, which involves the rebuild and upgrade of the Richmond, Brunswick and West Melbourne terminal stations over a nine-year period. The project will secure the power supply for Melbourne’s growing inner suburbs and central business district.
AusNet Services and its delivery partners are on track to complete the project by the end of 2018.
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