ElectraNet tips interstate transmission link to be online by mid-2026

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Transmission network owner ElectraNet has announced construction of the South Australian (SA) section of the 900-kilometre Project EnergyConnect, which will link the energy grids of SA, New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, has passed the halfway mark with construction expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

The EnergyConnect project, a joint venture between ElectraNet and NSW network operator Transgrid, will link Robertstown, in SA’s mid-north to Wagga Wagga in southwest NSW via Buronga, with an additional ‘spur’ link between Buronga and Red Cliffs in northwest Victoria.

Identified as a priority project in both AEMO’s Integrated System Plan and the NSW Government’s Transmission Infrastructure Strategy, the EnergyConnect project is expected to improve energy security in both states and help accelerate the transition to a grid based around wind, solar and storage. The interconnector will provide 800 MW of nominal transfer capacity in both directions and is forecast to unlock some 5.3 GW of new renewable energy projects.

ElectraNet Chief Operating Officer Rainer Korte said work on the high-voltage interconnector is progressing well with “more than 50% of construction on the South Australian component of Project EnergyConnect now complete.”

“We remain on track for construction to be completed by the end of 2023,” he said, adding the first stage of commissioning between Robertstown in SA and Buronga in NSW will take place early next year with release of initial power transfer planned for mid-2024.

Completion of the second stage from Buronga to Wagga Wagga is expected by the end of 2024, which will be followed by inter-network testing and planned release of full transfer capability by mid-2026.

ElectraNet said construction partner Downer Utilities is continuing to assemble the 330 kV transmission towers that will carry the line from the border to the new Bundey substation, with conductor stringing now taking place.

Work is also continuing on the Bundey substation with Consolidated Power Projects installing three 275 kV/330 kV transformers supplied by South Korean manufacturer Hyosung Corportation.

“The arrival and installation of the transformers is another important milestone for the project, with Bundey substation now approximately 75% complete,” Korte said, adding that once installed and commissioned, the new transformers will be the largest electricity transformers in operation on the SA network.

“The transformers will play a critical role in enabling the flow of power across the new energy highway between SA and NSW,” he said. “They are big pieces of equipment, with each one weighing more than 250 tonnes when operational.”

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