Coast growth drives new energy infrastructure

infrastructure transmission network, AusNet

More than $120 million worth of electrical infrastructure works is underway to keep up with the energy needs of a growing Sunshine Coast.

Queensland Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the work by state-owned Energex and Powerlink would ensure safe, reliable electricity supply for the region.

Construction is well advanced on Energex’s $100-plus million 132KV powerline between Powerlink’s Palmwoods substation and the West Maroochydore substation on Jones Rd.

Meanwhile Powerlink has just started work on a $16 million project to replace  secondary systems at the Palmwoods Substation and refit Powerlink’s 90 kilometre-long Palmwoods to Woolooga transmission line.

Together the electricity infrastructure investment will support 36 jobs and create 12 new jobs. Almost 185,000 jobs have been created in Queensland since January 2015 with 4000 extra jobs on the Sunshine Coast in the past year. 

Related article: Regional Queensland sees big renewables uptake

Dr Lynham said the infrastructure was necessary to keep up with the Coast’s growth.

“The Sunshine Coast is about to see a number of major projects roll out including the SunCentral CBD, airport extension, health precinct development and new master-planned communities, many of which were discussed when the Palaszczuk Government was on the coast for its Governing from the Regions program,” he said.

“A safe, reliable, affordable energy supply underpins economic growth, jobs and business opportunities.

“And Queenslanders know that they can rely on their electricity transmission and distribution systems because they remain owned by Queenslanders.”

Works for the Palmwoods to Woolooga transmission line refit project are expected to be completed by July 2019, while the Palmwoods Substation secondary systems replacement project is scheduled from mid-2019 to mid-2021, depending on weather. Secondary systems are the control, protection and communications equipment. They operate the transmission network safely and reliably and prevent damage to physical plant in the substation such as transformers.

Related article: Substation upgrade secures supply for North Queensland

Powerlink acting chief executive Kevin Kehl said transmission line had been in service for more than 45 years.

“Our crews are currently refitting more than 200 transmission towers to replace ageing insulators and steel work to extend the line’s technical service life for more than 20 years,” he said.

Energy Queensland’s head of corporate strategy and executive general manager for asset safety and performance Peter Price said Energex’s project was being built to keep up with the significant investment, development and rapid growth planned for the Sunshine Coast.

“Energex’s SunCoast project is crucial for the future safety and reliability of electricity supply in this whole region,” he said.