Western Power, Australia, has selected the southern option, known as Line 81, between Muja and Kojonup as the preferred line route. This option has the support of the Southdown Joint Venture (SDJV). The proposed line will be built parallel to an existing wood pole 132-kV transmission line between Muja and Kojonup, where the existing line will be removed once construction of the new line is complete. This is an alternative to the previous northern route between Muja and Kojonup, which would have resulted in a new corridor. The previously selected line route between Kojonup and the proposed mine remains unchanged.
A Regulatory Test Waiver was submitted to the Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) for approval in June 2011. In August 2011 the ERA announced its final determination on Western Power’s Regulatory Test Waiver submission.
Representatives from Western Power and Landgate hosted a number of community information sessions along the proposed line route in early August 2011 to explain the easement acquisition and compensation process that will be followed should the project proceed.
State and federal environmental approvals, and state economic approvals through the ERA are currently being sought.
Western Power proposes to design and construct a new 278-km, 330-kV transmission line between the Muja Terminal Substation near Collie and the proposed Southdown mine near Wellstead. The Southdown Joint Venture (SDJV) is proposing the development of a new magnetite mine 90 km north east of Albany. The proposed development will require up to 180 MW of electricity.
The project consists of the:
- Expansion of the existing Muja 330-kV switchyard to accommodate the new line
- Construction of a new double circuit 330-kV transmission line between Muja and Kojonup (one circuit dedicated to improve and enhance Western Power’s transmission system in the Great Southern region and the other supply to power to the proposed Southdown mine site)
- Removal of one of the existing wood pole 132-kV transmission lines between Muja and Kojonup and restoration of the land
- Construction of a new single circuit 330-kV transmission line between Kojonup and the Southdown mine site
- Construction of a new 330-kV terminal switchyard at the Southdown mine site
Following a number of years of consultation, environmental and other surveys, the line route has been largely selected from Muja Terminal Substation to the proposed mine site. Many factors were considered in selecting and designing the transmission line. These include, but are not limited to, existing and future land uses, network requirements and natural load growth, as well as environmental, cultural and visual impacts and maximizing the distance of the line to houses.
Western Power endeavors to minimize the impact on the environment and affected landowners and has conducted environmental and visual impact studies along the proposed route. This is to ensure that environmental values, including in areas close to the Stirling Range National Park, are protected. Western Power has also consulted with landowners on land use issues and impacts and with relevant government agencies regarding potential environmental and visual impacts of the project.