More than 9000 kilometers of conductor cabling, enough to span from Sydney to Perth three times, will be used to deliver Australia’s largest electricity grid project, EnergyConnect.
CEO Brett Redman joined local community representatives to mark the start of construction on Transgrid’s AUS$ 1.8 billion (US$1.3 billion) infrastructure investment in New South Wales’ far west today.
“EnergyConnect is a once in a generation transmission project that will help to revolutionize the National Electricity Market and we are really pleased to be getting underway with this critical infrastructure,” said Redman. “The project will be a key component of the future grid, which will enable the integration of renewable generation and support the decarbonization of the nation’s economy.
EnergyConnect is a 900-km interconnector which will enable the sharing of energy between New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria for the first time. Transgrid is building the 700km NSW section from the South Australian border to Wagga Wagga and South Australia’s ElectraNet has started building the remaining 200km from the border to Robertstown, SA.
“By increasing wholesale electricity competition, EnergyConnect will help drive down electricity bills and once completed, the project is expected to save NSW energy customers AUS$ 180 million (US$ 130 million) a year," Redman said.
Early works have already commenced in western NSW to provide construction access points ahead of major works scheduled for July, 2022. Over the course of the project, Transgrid’s construction partner SecureEnergy will erect 1500 new transmission towers, using more than 30,000 tons of steel.
"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 NSW, which includes construction of 135km of new transmission line between Buronga and the SA border, a 33-hectare expansion of the existing Buronga substation and further 22km of transmission line to the Victorian border near Red Cliffs.” said Stephen Troughton, project director, EnergyConnect.
“The scale of the project means we will engage a workforce which is on an unprecedented scale for a transmission asset construction project in this country. 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. 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.” said David Whatmough, project director, SecureEnergy.
EnergyConnect will also involve:
- More than one million cubic meters of earthworks to excavate tower footings and to create substation foundations and site access points
- 60,000 cubic meters of concrete for tower footings and substation works
- More than 70 hectares 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.