A new electrical installation will be constructed at Black Range as an important part of the South Australia to Victoria Interconnector Upgrade project.

The South Australia – Victoria Interconnector Upgrade project has been jointly developed by ElectraNet, the owner and manager of South Australia’s electricity transmission network, and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). The project involves the installation of a third electricity transformer at the Heywood substation in Victoria and the installation of what is known as series compensation at a new site at Black Range in South Australia. Other asset upgrading works will also be undertaken on the 275 kV transmission lines from the Tailem Bend to South East substations in South Australia and other substations in the South-East.

“The largest component of the upgrade works in South Australia is the creation of a new series compensation site at Black Range, which will make it possible to get more capacity out of the existing 275 kV transmission lines. This development will represent the first time series compensation has been used within the South Australian transmission network,” said Rainer Korte, ElectraNet’s Executive Manager Asset Management.

Black Range is approximately 35 kilometres south of Keith, near the town of Willalooka, and is half way along the 275 kV transmission line which services the region and connects the South Australian transmission network with Victoria. The series compensation equipment to be installed at Black Range has the effect of reducing the “electrical distance” of the transmission line and increasing its capacity to transport power.

“The upgrade is designed to increase interconnector capacity in both directions by approximately 40 per cent, and will deliver substantial future benefits to electricity consumers by allowing increased wind energy exports from South Australia, and increased imports of lower-cost generation into South Australia, particularly at times of peak demand,” Mr Korte added.

Detailed cost-benefit assessment found that the increase in capacity will deliver net market benefits of more than $190 million by significantly reducing generation dispatch costs over the longer term. These reduced costs should ultimately be passed to consumers through reduced wholesale electricity costs. The planned commissioning date for the upgrade is July 2016. The total capital cost of the upgrade is estimated at $91 million, with $46 million investment in South Australia and $45 million in Victoria. It is anticipated that construction and commissioning activities at the Black Range site will be completed in approximately 14 months.

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