Homes, businesses and communities across South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula now have a more secure power supply following the completion of Eyre Peninsula Link.

Delivered by South Australia’s Transmission Network Service Provider (TNSP) ElectraNet, Eyre Peninsula Link is a new 270km double-circuit 132kV highvoltage transmission line from Cultana to Port Lincoln, via Yadnarie, constructed with 500 new transmission towers and upgrades to five ElectraNet substations.

ElectraNet Chief Executive, Simon Emms, said after two years of construction and over five years of planning, the new line is now powering the Eyre Peninsula. “Eyre Peninsula Link is a significant, $320 million investment in the region, giving residential and business electricity users a more secure and reliable power supply,” Mr Emms said.

“As well as improving supply reliability, the new line future-proofs the region’s high-voltage electricity supply to support growth and renewable energy development, which will deliver substantial benefits now and into the future.” The Eyre Peninsula’s old transmission line was more than 50 years old and needed substantial investment to replace worn out components to ensure customer reliability.

Following comprehensive investigations, it was determined a new transmission line was the best and most cost-effective solution to delivering reliable electricity supply to customers across the Eyre Peninsula into the future.

“Our process to get to the final option of building the new line involved comprehensive stakeholder engagement, an economic assessment of a range of available options and public consultation,” Mr Emms said.

“The information and feedback we gained through this consultation played an important role in arriving at the final outcome. “It was then a matter of engaging a primary contractor to undertake the works.

Downer was contracted to conduct the detailed design and construction of the project, following an Early Contractor Involvement engagement which involved the preliminary design works and critical procurement activities.”

Electranet Eyre Peninsula link project Director, David Tansell and ElectraNet Chief Executive, Simon Emms at the Port Lincoln substation.

Local and community involvement

Ensuring that local and South Australian businesses had the opportunity to be involved in supporting the project’s delivery was a key objective for both ElectraNet and Downer.

“During the project’s initial stages, COVID-19 restrictions were in place across South Australia, so ElectraNet and Downer hosted several online forums for interested businesses to find out more about the project and the work packages that were available,” Mr Emms said.

“These forums provided a really good opportunity for Eyre Peninsula and South Australian-based businesses to hear from and speak with the project team and register their interest to be involved in its delivery. “About $57 million was spent with South Australian businesses, of which more than $22 million was with Eyre Peninsula businesses.

“There were about 200 workers on average involved in delivering the project, peaking at 300 early in 2022. These were workers who were spending money locally on things like food and drink, accommodation and fuel, which has been great for the local economies.

“Local subcontractors and suppliers represented about 15 per cent of the workforce, delivering works ranging from fencing through to minor civil works along the transmission line route.”

Mr Emms said Eyre Peninsula Link has been one of the biggest construction projects undertaken by ElectraNet and he would like to thank everyone that supported its delivery. “When undertaking a project of this scale, support and collaboration from everyone who is impacted by or delivering it is vital,” Mr Emms said.

“Specifically, I would like to thank the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) for the significant contribution it has made to the project and its steadfast support in the important role of protection of cultural heritage in the field. BDAC has been a major contributor to the success of the project.

“ElectraNet recognises the huge commitment this project was for the Barngarla community and sincerely thank them for their efforts. “We also appreciated the ongoing support from ElectraNet landholders, local councils and the substantial hours of work dedicated by the entire ElectraNet and Downer project teams.

“The project’s delivery was a really good example of how collaboration drives positive outcomes for everyone involved. “Despite the challenging weather conditions and ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was successfully delivered, which was a huge achievement and a credit to all involved.”

The cost of the new transmission line was largely offset by avoiding the cost of refurbishment works on the existing transmission line and annual Port Lincoln generator network support payments, resulting in minimal net price impact for customers.

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