Two 66,000V transformers have been installed as part of the construction of the Tonsley East Substation, which is set to supply electricity to tunnel-boring machines for the River Torrens to Darlington project.
The substation, which will be built, owned and operated by SA Power Networks, is being established on the site of the recently demolished Mitsubishi building fronting South Road and will constitute part of the Project’s Southern Laydown Area.
The two 38t transformers were transported to the Tonsley site from the Wilson Transformer Company in Victoria in early August.
It will be the first construction that has occurred in direct relation to the T2D Project and will be undertaken by SA Power Networks and its subsidiary Enerven. Works on the substation are expected to take one year to carry out.
This new facility will initially supply electricity to the tunnel boring machines (TBM) used in construction of the two parallel 4km Southern Tunnels. It will then power the tunnels themselves once they are complete in 2030.
SA Power Networks CEO, Andrew Bills, said that the company was excited to partner with both the State and Federal Governments, helping to produce infrastructure for South Australia.
“It is always exciting to partner with State and Federal Governments to deliver a significant new electricity supply for a major project of great benefit to the community. This is a game-changing infrastructure project for South Australia and it is exciting to be involved,” Mr Bills said.
South Australian premier, Tom Koutsantonis, said, “The Tonsley East Substation will play an instrumental role in building the River Torrens to Darlington Project, and the ramping up of work on the plant represents a real milestone.”
“Following on from extensive preparatory works – such as ground investigations, the relocation of utilities and demolitions – the building of the substation is the first example of genuine construction on the motorway.
“It will occupy the site of the large former Mitsubishi building that used to front South Road, and it will help provide a dedicated and reliable source of energy for the crucial initial stage of the Project.
“Not only will the substation provide power for the two huge tunnel boring machines that will excavate the parallel 4km Southern Tunnels, but will also form part of the ongoing energy supply to the tunnels once they are completed and fully operational,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“The arrival and installation of two world-class transformers is a significant milestone for the establishment of the Tonsley East Substation.
“Construction of the substation over the coming year means that it will be well and truly established before the scheduled start of TBM activity in 2026. It will also serve as a precedent for a second substation to power the TBMs that will excavate the parallel Northern Tunnels from 2029,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
The substations are being set up to ensure TBM operations have a dedicated source of electricity and is expected to be fully operational well ahead of the expected start of the TBM works on the Southern Tunnels in 2026, with similar ones to be established within the Richmond area to power the TBMs that will build the 2km Northern Tunnels in 2029-2031.
The 10.5km T2D Project, once completed, will enable motorists to have a nine-minute journey from West Hindmarsh to Darlington, and complete the North-South Corridor 78 km of non-stop motorway between Gawler and Old Noarlunga.