Cyclone-damaged transmission towers to be replaced

Electricity transmission towers damaged during Tropical Cyclone Debbie are set to be replaced in coming months as part of a $7.8 million investment by the state government through Powerlink Queensland.

Severe flooding caused extensive damage to 19 transmission towers on Powerlink’s Nebo to Broadsound electricity transmission line, located approximately 100 kilometres south west of Mackay.

The transmission line is a key part of Powerlink’s 275kV network that supplies bulk electricity to Central and North Queensland.

Minister for Energy Mark Bailey said replacement towers would be installed in the Lotus Creek and Clarke Creek areas in time for summer to ensure Powerlink’s transmission network continued to operate safely and reliably heading into the hotter period.

“We all know when Tropical Cyclone Debbie headed inland three months ago it hit the Central Queensland region with some of the heaviest rainfall ever seen in those areas,” Mr Bailey said.

“The fast moving flood waters impacted on the foundations of certain towers, causing them to fall – some even folding like cardboard – creating a cascading effect on the surrounding towers.

“Despite the extent of damage to the network in this area, Powerlink ensured there were no supply impacts to customers as a result.”

Mirani MP Jim Pearce said the replacement towers would be built to the latest design standards to maximise transmission network resilience in severe weather events.

“This investment, which supports 17 jobs, further demonstrates our commitment to reliably meeting the electricity needs of Central and North Queenslanders and driving economic growth,” he said.

“Importantly, the project will not result in any price impacts on electricity consumers.”

Powerlink chief executive Merryn York said the project was the most cost effective solution to restoring the transmission network to full capacity before next summer.

“Tropical Cyclone Debbie was the most damaging weather event to affect Powerlink’s network,” Ms York said.

“When we knew we had towers extensively damaged, crews were on-site to make the area safe as quickly as possible.

“Fortunately we were able to configure the network to avoid any impacts to customers and ensure a continued high voltage electricity supply to the area.

“We appreciate the patience and cooperation of landholders and the wider community who are still recovering from this natural disaster and we will continue to engage with landholders ahead of construction works starting in the coming months.”