Energex has flicked the switch on an $11.2 million project to upgrade the underground electricity network across the northern suburb of Brisbane, Australia. Key components of the upgrade have included the establishment of new 33-kV underground electricity cables between Energex's Sandgate substation in Depot Road to the Bald Hills Substation. Upgrades have also taken place on the powerlines connecting Bald Hills substation and Energex's Zillmere substation.
The upgrades over the past 18 months have been carried out to enhance the available electricity capacity for around 15,000 homes and businesses as well as to improve the reliability of the local electricity network.
Areas which will benefit include Aspley, Bald Hills, Bracken Ridge, Bridgeman Downs, Carseldine, Fitzgibbon, Taigum and Zillmere.
Energex Asset Manager Steven Lynch said the upgrade was part of Energex's commitment to provide a safe, secure and highly reliable, cost-effective electricity supply to its customers.
Importantly, the upgrade provides more operational flexibility to the high voltage network in the northern Brisbane area and will allow Energex to meet the short and long-term electricity needs of the homes and businesses in the region. The new cables will also allow Energex technicians to redirect and restore power faster after unexpected interruptions caused by severe weather.
Like most areas in South East Queensland, the northern Brisbane area has seen some growth in population and commercial activity in the past decade placing pressure on power supplies, especially at peak electricity demand times.
There has also been a rapid uptake of power hungry appliances such as air-conditioners with 75 per cent of all homes in the area now having at least one air-conditioner and close to 15 per cent having three or more systems.
Lynch said Energex had a strong focus of installing lower voltage power supplies underground. On average in the last five years, for every kilometer of new overhead powerlines constructed by Energex, around 7 km of underground power cables have been installed.
Energex's underground network now makes up almost 33 percent of the South East Queensland power distribution grid and laid end-to-end would stretch more than 16,000 km – further than the distance between Brisbane and London, England.