Transgrid has begun construction of one of the biggest substations in the Southern Hemisphere, which will comprise complex equipment including the two synchronous condensers, five phase shifting transformers, three power transformers and four shunt reactors. 

The substation is part of Transgrid’s massive $1.8 billion EnergyConnect interconnector project.

Crews have been working around the clock to lay the concrete foundations for some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated heavy duty electrical equipment at Buronga, near Mildura. The Buronga Substation will act as the main hub for the connection between New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia.

The night sky at Buronga was lit up as subcontractors Nathan Contractors and Mawsons Concrete & Quarries poured 850m³ of concrete during a complex eleven-hour operation.  

The team effort saw 15 concrete trucks loaded at Mawsons’ plants at Buronga and Mildura, with about 50 workers involved in the pour for the foundations of two synchronous condensers, which will sit at  the heart of the new 16ha Buronga substation.  

Transgrid Project Director, Stephen Troughton, said, “We are getting on with the job of building the critical EnergyConnect interconnector, which will integrate renewables into the grid and allow energy sharing between New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia for the first time.  

“The Buronga substation will be one of the largest and most sophisticated in the Southern Hemisphere  and act as the main hub for the connection between the three states. 

“The EnergyConnect project is providing a major boost to businesses and jobs in communities along the 700km project alignment with more than $18 million spent on local suppliers to date including Mawsons  Concrete & Quarries and the Garraway Group at Mildura.” 

Mawsons Western Operations Manager Concrete, Gary Harvey, said the amount of concrete involved was the equivalent of 120 truckloads. 

“It is a real feather in our cap to be involved in such a big project as EnergyConnect and it is a very proud  moment for us,” Mr Harvey said.  

“We had to supply concrete at a certain temperature which was under 23 degrees, and with the number of trucks involved, it was always going to be a night pour.” 

Based in New South Wales and Queensland, Nathan Contractors measured the amount of concrete required and  managed the pour for SecureEnergy, supplying 16 concreters, some of whom were local. 

Nathan Contractors Site Supervisor, Matt Jobson, said it was a time-consuming deep pour that went well. 

An additional 850m³ of concrete is scheduled to be poured at the end of April 2023 to complete the foundations for the synchronous condensers.  

The two 120MVA synchronous condensers are used for system stability and circuit strength to the grid, playing a key role in moving Australia to cleaner renewable energy.  

Mawsons is also supplying concrete for the footings to support towers currently being erected at Buronga, providing a further boost to the local business.  

In the beginning of 2023, crews at the Buronga substation also carried out foundation works for the  transformers that accompany the synchronous condensers, and the first of the five phase shifting  transformers.  

The first phase shifting transformer will shortly arrive in Australia from South Korea. The specialised type of transformer controls the flow of active power on transmission networks. 

The Buronga site also comprises an accommodation camp for 340 workers and a laydown to store equipment and materials.  

Feature Image: Big concrete pour. Provided by Transgrid,

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