Synchronous condensers to form heart of transmission project


New South Wales (NSW) transmission network owner Transgrid said the synchronous condensers are a centrepiece of the 900-kilometre EnergyConnect project that will link the power grids across three states, supporting the development of new wind, solar and energy storage projects.

Transgrid, one of two transmission network operators delivering the EnergyConnect high-voltage interconnector, said the condensers will be installed at the Buronga substation which will act as the main hub for the connection between NSW, South Australia and Victoria.

Transgrid Executive General Manager of Major Projects Gordon Taylor said the condensers, which will rotate at a speed of 750 rpm and generate inertia of 7 MWs/MVA, will help maintain voltage on the transmission network and provide system resilience services such as inertia.

“These condensers will play a key role keeping the grid stable as we build the energy superhighway to make Australia’s transition to renewable energy possible,” he said.

The EnergyConnect project will link Robertstown, in South Australia’s mid-north to Wagga Wagga in southwest NSW via Buronga near Mildura in the state’s far west. An additional ‘spur’ link will connect Buronga to Red Cliffs in northwest Victoria. The interconnector will provide 800 MW of nominal transfer capacity in both directions.

Transgrid’s Electrical Site Manager Jason Scott described the arrival of the condensers as “a huge milestone”, noting that transporting the condensers had been a major logistical effort with four prime movers needed to transport the two lower halves of the condensers which weigh 110 tonnes each and the rotor units which weigh 85 tonnes.

“Having them arrive on site and is a big step in the project moving forward,” he said. “The condensers will form the backbone for stability throughout the new substation.”

Transgrid said the machines, supplied by Austrian plant engineering group Andritz, will now undergo five months of commissioning and testing.

The progress on the NSW component of the EnergyConnect project follows South Australian transmission network operator ElectraNet’s announcement that it has successfully completed aerial stringing activities between 384 towers spanning 205km from Robertstown to Bundey and onto the NSW border.

ElectraNet said the South Australian side of the EnergyConnect project still has a few more milestones to reach before completion but indicated construction of the project will be finalised by the end of 2024 with the release of full transfer capability planned by mid-2026.

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