Works have begun in New South Wales on Australia’s largest electricity grid interconnector project, EnergyConnect, with conductor cabling now set up.
EnergyConnect is Transgrid’s $1.8 billion infrastructure investment which consists of a 900km interconnector which will enable the sharing of energy between New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria for the first time.
Transgrid is building the 700km New South Wales section from the South Australian border to Wagga Wagga and South Australia’s ElectraNet has started building the remaining 200km from the border to Robertstown, South Australia.
Early works have already commenced in western New South Wales to provide construction access points ahead of major works scheduled for July, 2022.
Transgrid CEO, Brett Redman, said EnergyConnect is a once in a generation transmission project that will help to revolutionise the National Electricity Market and Transgrid is pleased to be getting underway with this critical infrastructure.
“The project will be a key component of the future grid, which will enable the integration of renewable generation and support the decarbonisation of the nation’s economy,” Mr Redman said.
“By increasing wholesale electricity competition, EnergyConnect will help drive down electricity bills and once completed, the project is expected to save New South Wales energy customers $180 million a year.”
Over the course of the project, Transgrid’s construction partner SecureEnergy will erect 1,500 new transmission towers, using more than 30,000 tonnes of steel.
More than 9,000km of conductor cabling, enough to span from Sydney to Perth three times, will be used to deliver the project.
EnergyConnect Project Director, Stephen Troughton, said, “We are excited to progress the project which is of enormous significance to the nation’s energy consumers.
“SecureEnergy will soon start building the first stage in New South Wales, which includes construction of 135km of new transmission line between Buronga and the South Australian border, a 33ha expansion of the existing Buronga substation and further 22km of transmission line to the Victorian border near Red Cliffs.”
SecureEnergy Project Director, David Whatmough, said the scale of the project means SecureEnergy will engage a workforce that is on an unprecedented scale for a transmission asset construction project in Australia.
“EnergyConnect is one of the first of many that will change the industry across Australia and represents a significant part of the transition taking place in the energy sector,” Mr Whatmough said.
“From a power engineering construction perspective, it provides a fabulous opportunity to grow the next generation of people who want to work in this industry.”
ElectraNet Interim Chief Executive, Rainer Korte, said “EnergyConnect is a landmark project of national significance that will enable more renewable energy and improve the affordability, reliability, and security of electricity supply.
“We are delighted to see the start of construction on this critical project in both South Australia and NSW.”
EnergyConnect will also involve:
More than one million cubic metres of earthworks to excavate tower footings and to create substation foundations and site access points
60,000 cubic metres of concrete for tower footings and substation works
More than 70ha of substation construction, including upgrades to two existing sites and development of a third site
The construction of the eastern alignment, (Buronga to Wagga Wagga) is due to commence in 2023, with project delivery expected by 2024.