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The Federal Government recently passed its Climate Change Bills in the Senate, cementing a 43 per cent emissions reduction target and commitment to net zero by 2050. This has highlighted the critical importance of renewable energy projects like the Wandoan South Solar Farm and 275kV underground cable connection project – which will be one of Australia’s largest solar projects once completed.

The Wandoan South Solar Farm Project is located near Wandoan, 400km north-west of Brisbane in the Western Darling Downs region. When completed, the project will consist of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on nearly 2,000ha with a proposed generation capacity of 650 megawatts (MW), and will generate electricity equivalent to the annual needs of up to 330,000 homes.

Vena Energy has engaged Powerlink Queensland to connect the solar farm to Powerlink’s Wandoan South Substation from the new Juandah Substation via a 1km 275kV underground cable system.

Powerlink awarded Daly’s Constructions a turnkey Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for the project, which includes:

  • Final route verification
  • Approvals from all stakeholders
  • Design report, inclusive of civil, electrical, earthing and structural designs
  • Underground cable system design to transmit 650MW of electrical power
  • Procurement of all materials including 275kV power cable, cable joints and terminations, DTS system (Distributed
  • Temperature Sensing), accessories and all civil construction materials
  • Construction, supply and installation of 12km of power conduits
  • Cable hauling
  • Cable jointing and terminating
  • Pre-commissioning tests and handover

Daly’s partnered with Taihan Electric Australia to deliver the project.

Overcoming weather and logistic challenges

Daly’s Constructions’ first large cable project for Powerlink Queensland required detailed planning and coordination, especially involving the mobilisation of resources, plant and equipment, as well as establishing suitable subcontractor and supplier arrangements in the Darling Downs.

There were a few key challenges experienced, including the design of 275kV cable sealing end structures for the dual phased cable system, and design, coordination and approval to transverse the QGC transmission gas pipeline.

Daly’s also had to manage the delivery of cable and accessories from overseas during COVID-19 which saw many supply chain issues during that period.

It also needed to source 4,300 tonnes of thermal backfill material during one of the wettest seasons on record, and manage a variety of access issues caused by extreme weather conditions, from floods to sub-zero temperatures.

Other challenges related to the design and manufacture of two precast concrete joint bays, each weighing 20 tonnes; the excavation and remediation of three separate
creek crossings; cable snaking adjacent to the joint bays for thermo-mechanical force mitigation; and the transportation of oversized cable drums to site.

Helping Australia reach its climate goals

The cooperative and benefit-driven approach between Powerlink’s project team and Daly’s has facilitated the successful delivery of the project so far.

The safety performance has been outstanding, with no recordable incidents during the construction phase. The team also successfully worked in an environment adjacent to some of Australia’s iconic and diverse fauna, including kangaroos, wedge tail eagles, echidnas and wild pigs.

Daly’s Projects Manager, Paul Taylor, said, “The success of the project delivery is due to the collaborative approach with Powerlink’s project team, local suppliers, effective planning and Daly’s highly committed and skilled workforce.”

Daly’s successful implementation on this project has allowed for modifications and enhancements to Powerlink’s transmission specification, and highlighted the position it has in the market when it comes to expertise in connecting renewable assets to the transmission grid.

The Wandoan South Solar Farm is now set to significantly contribute to Australia’s climate goals by producing clean energy with zero greenhouse gas emissions.

This sponsored editorial is brought to you by Daly’s Constructions, for more information please visit www.daly.net.au.

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