The dual-owned Ergon Energy and Powerlink Garbutt bulk supply substation, which powers more than 50,000 homes and businesses across Townsville, is undergoing a $30 million upgrade to meet the future needs of the growing community. The project will involve a major upgrade with the old outdoor equipment in the substation yard replaced with new, modern 66kV gas-insulated switchgear housed inside the substation building.
Constructed in 1958, the Garbutt bulk supply substation is an essential node in Townsville’s electricity network, connecting Ergon Energy’s distribution network and Powerlink’s high voltage transmission network.
The substation has grown over time, and now supplies more than 51,000 customers and is a critical interconnector for the area’s 66kV electricity network, that includes eleven substations from Oonoonba to Rollingstone.
Much of the existing infrastructure and equipment is soon due for retirement. To maintain a safe and reliable electricity supply to the area, Ergon Energy is investing $30 million in a major upgrade of the substation. Construction of a new substation building is already well underway.
Once the building is complete, the old outdoor switchyard equipment will be replaced with modern, gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) which will be housed inside the new substation building. Energy Queensland awarded Daly’s Constructions a contract that comprised:
- Liaison and approvals from all stakeholders
- Procurement of all civil construction materials, including thermal backfill product to meet the circuit ratings
- Civil and conduit works for the seven new 66kV feeders, sometimes in a quadruple formation
- Joint bay construction
- Cable hauling for the seven 66kV feeders as well as the internal 66kV cables within the existing switchyard
- Optic fibre network construction and cable installation
Managing the challenges
Some of the key challenges experienced during the project have included:
- Planning the civil works around the wet season and associated high water table
- Staged works due to the network constraints and resource availability
- Managing key stakeholders, including the Department of Transport and Main Roads and Townsville City Council, and affected businesses, such as the local Triple M radio station and McDonalds
- Horizontal Directional Drills in difficult ground conditions and locations with uncharted assets
One of the key highlights for the project was the safety performance, with no recordable incidents during the construction phase. In addition, the cooperative and benefit driven approach between Energy Queensland’s project team and Daly’s facilitated the ongoing successful delivery of the project.
According to Daly’s Constructions Director, Malachy Daly, “The success of the project delivery is due to the collaborative approach with Energy Queensland’s project team, local suppliers, effective planning and Daly’s highly committed and skilled workforce.”