Upgrade bolsters electricity supply to growing Newcastle region

New South Wales transmission network operator, TransGrid has completed the first stage of a major upgrade of its Waratah west substation in Newcastle to meet growing electricity needs in the region.

TransGrid’s projects manager, John McCall said electricity demand in the Newcastle region is forecast to grow by approximately 2.4 per cent annually.

Stage one of the project involved the installation of a new 180 tonne transformer to TransGrid’s Waratah west substation and the upgrade of an existing power line supplying the substation.

“The new transformer has now been energised and is supplying the region with electricity, increasing the reliability of power supply to Newcastle,” Mr McCall said.

Ground conditions at the site made securing a foundation for the new transformer particularly challenging for TransGrid’s project team.

“We had to bring in a special drilling rig from Canberra, which extended to 25 m, to sink the supports for the foundations,” Mr McCall said.

“The foundation range in depth from 14 to 22 m to ensure they connected with rock,” he said.

The second stage of the project is now underway and involves the installation of additional high-voltage connections to the switching gear.

The project is expected to be completed in December 2010.