Transgrid’s EnergyConnect has commenced works at Buronga – which will host one of the largest substations in Australia – with the first of its concrete foundations for steel towers laid and the purpose-built 30ha accommodation camps opening its doors to the first group of workers.
The Buronga site will also be one of the most complex projects in the Southern Hemisphere for technology and engineering, with equipment including two 120MVA capacity synchronous condensers, five phase-shifting transformers, three power transformers and four shunt reactors.
The Buronga camp is one of five camps being established across the EnergyConnect project alignment from Wagga Wagga to the South Australian border, to accommodate workers across the project alignment with associated offices and laydowns for equipment. The first group saw 70 of the expected 340 workers arrive at the camp.
Other purpose-built camps will be located at Renmark Road, Wentworth; on the Cobb Highway near Hay; Dinawan (Coleambally) on the Kidman Way; and Lockhart on the Collingullie Jerilderie Road. An existing camp at Balranald will also be utilised.
Australian Portable Camps delivered more than 200 brand new modules safely to the camp Buronga site, with the camp being managed by Compass Group ESS.
Camp facilities include rooms with ensuites, a recreation room, gym, small retail facilities, Wi-Fi, mess, wet mess, 24/7 security, and laundry, welfare and non-denominational spiritual meeting facilities.
SecureEnergy JV Project Director, Samuel Basanta Lopez, said they are committed to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of their workers who are often away from their homes for extended periods.
“Providing accommodation for our workforce is one of the first steps in constructing Australia’s largest transmission line and ensuring they are safe and comfortable away from home,” Mr Basanta Lopez said.
“A broad range of workers from across Australia are living at the Buronga camp including engineers, logistics and material managers, labourers, catering staff and plant operators, with more project team members to arrive.
“These high-quality camps provide comfortable living and recreational facilities and services for our workers and also reduce travel to construction sites to minimise fatigue. They also ease pressure on the local rental market and accommodation providers.
“To help meet our sustainability goals, we will recycle at least 90 per cent of our daily water usage at each camp for use as construction water for compaction of soil and dust suppression.”
SecureEnergy Camps and Logistics Manager, Jason Ponosh, said the initial group of workers at the brand-new camp at Buronga were enjoying their home away from home.
“The mood is great in the camp with comfortable rooms and amenities and people are rating the food as excellent,” Mr Ponosh said.
“We will also be introducing a range of evening activities for the camp community including pool, ping pong competitions, cards and board games to help boost employee health and wellbeing.
“The camp will provide a high level of service for our staff and contractors.”The landmark EnergyConnect project is providing a boost to local and Indigenous communities through employment, opportunities for local businesses and suppliers, improvements in infrastructure and increased economic activity.The $1.8 billion EnergyConnect project will allow energy to be shared between New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria for the first time and enable the connection of new renewable generation to support the nation’s clean energy future.
Transgrid Project Director, Stephen Troughton, said, “EnergyConnect is the biggest project ever undertaken by our company – it is a key part of the energy superhighway which will transform energy supply for millions of Australians.
“Our construction partner SecureEnergy JV has completed the first concrete foundations for 19 towers (of 291) on the alignment from Buronga to South Australia.
“About 6,000 concrete footings will be required to support 1,500 towers across the project from Wagga Wagga to the South Australian border.
“EnergyConnect is a once-in-a-generation transmission project that will improve the affordability, reliability and security of electricity supply and we are really pleased construction is moving full steam ahead for this critical infrastructure.”
Delivery of EnergyConnect is expected in late 2024.