Project EnergyConnect

Downer is proud to have delivered another landmark infrastructure project on behalf of its client ElectraNet, with the South Australian component of Project EnergyConnect now complete.

Downer was awarded a $212 million contract in 2021 to construct the 206km high voltage transmission line connection between the New South Wales and South Australian power grid as part of Project EnergyConnect. Downer’s contribution to the project included design, procurement and construction of:

  • A 330kV transmission line between Bundey Substation and the South Australian and New South Wales border
  • A 275kV transmission line between Bundey Substation and the existing Robertstown Substation

Downer Utilities Chief Operating Officer, James Kafanelis, said that after mobilising just over 18 months ago, Downer’s crews had powered ahead to complete the new transmission line on schedule.

“Project EnergyConnect is a big build of national significance and I am proud of the way our crews worked in partnership with ElectraNet and our delivery partners to get the job done for the residents and businesses in South Australia.

“This is the second major transmission line project completed by Downer in South Australia and one of the longest transmission lines ever constructed between Australian states.

“Congratulations to everyone involved on this outstanding achievement,” Mr Kafanelis said.

Working as one team, Downer delivered the project in close collaboration with ElectraNet and the local stakeholders along the path of the construction zone. More than $40 million associated with the project was spent directly with South Australian businesses, with many local suppliers also engaged during the construction phases.

To minimise the impact on the local environment and sensitive ecological communities along the path of the transmission line, Downer utilised low impact clearing and aerial helicopter stringing. A dedicated team of environmental experts were on the ground during the construction to ensure that all habitat areas were maintained and all temporary work areas were appropriately rehabilitated.

Another feature of the project was the direct engagement Downer maintained with Traditional Owners, including the River Murray Mallee Aboriginal Corporation, First Peoples and Ngadjuri Nation. Downer’s team of Cultural Heritage Officers were also engaged early to observe and identify artefacts and areas of significance along the construction zone, ensuring sensitive areas are physically identified for no-go zones.

Mr Kafanelis thanked ElectraNet and the local stakeholders for working hand-in-hand with Downer to deliver the South Australian component of Project EnergyConnect.

“We’re proud to be leaving a lasting positive legacy in the communities that we operate within, setting a benchmark for delivering large scale transmission projects that support the future of renewable energy in our country.

“Transmission is critical to a clean energy future and Downer aims to be at the forefront of delivering this nation-building infrastructure, connecting communities and transforming the electricity grid to enable a low emission power supply for the benefit of generations to come,” Mr Kafanelis said.

The South Australian component of Project EnergyConnect achieved construction completion in December 2023.

Assistant Editor, Utility magazine

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