Home' Infrastructure Australia : Infrastructure Australia 2011 Contents INFRASTRUCTURE AUSTRALIA APRIL 2011 33
Transmission infrastructure hinges
on industry funding
The Queensland coordinator-general is currently re-
viewing the Environmental Impact Statement for the
$1.5 billion, 720km CopperString transmission line
project that aims to connect Townsville and Mt Isa in
e project has been proposed by a CuString-Leighton part-
nership. e Courier-Mail dubbed the transmission line a "clean
energy corridor" as it would increase the feasibility of developing
renewable energy projects in the region, while also providing
Queenland s existing northwest electricity supply system with
a link to the National Electricity Market.
e state and federal governments have thrown their support
behind the project. e state government has noted CopperString
as a key infrastructure priority for 2011 and the federal govern-
ment has proposed $335 million in funding.
However, even if the coordinator-general provides approval
for the project, the nal investment decision will hinge on the
mining companies in the region, such as Xstrata and BHP which
are expected to be the main users and major investors in the
project. e companies have not yet committed to a time frame
and Xstrata has delayed its long-term decision making.
e delay may result in local energy suppliers revising their
pricing and upgrading their facilities to reduce the possibility
of being squeezed out of the market. Signing the mining giants
on to local long-term contracts could e ectively eliminate the
need for them to use CopperString and remove the incentive to
invest in the project. CS Energy is considering upgrading the
Mica Creek power station, although it remains cautious to not
unduly spend if the CopperString project goes ahead.
e federal government has stated that it will not increase
its funding o er to draw greater interest in the project and will
not intervene in the companies decision-making processes.
Sitzler Bros built the switching yard and substation; BMD
installed the underground cables; and MG Electrical erected the
overhead transmission lines.
Lovegrove Zone Substation is also being expanded to step
the power down from 66kV to 22kV for bulk transfer to Sa-
dadeen substation on the eastern side of the town and 11kV
for distribution to homes and businesses. e works involve
the installation of a 66kV switchyard, outdoor 66kv/22kV
transformers, and new 22kV indoor switchgear. e existing
22kV/11kV infrastructure will also remain in service. Loveg-
rove substation will have 66kV underground cables instead of
Transporting the three European-built MAN diesel/gas gen-
erators has not been a process without challenges. MAN Diesel
& Turbo Australia engaged Tutt Bryant Heavy Li & Shi for
the task of transporting the generators, each weighing 230t, and
their 60t alternators.
e transportation of all equipment was broken up into three
deliveries, with the combined gross load of each in excess of 420t.
In order to move such a heavy load, three prime movers were
used on each trip -- two in front and one behind.
To make matters more complicated, the height and oversized
width of the loads meant the delivery route had to be planned
carefully to allow for a safe passage, minimise the impact on public
infrastructure and the number of overhead powerlines that would
need to be raised to allow the load through. Commissioning and
testing is currently under way and the powerstation is expected to
deliver electricity shortly.
e Channel Island powerstation is also receiving an upgrade.
e powerstation s seven gas- red units, most which have dual
fuel capability, provide about 226MW of generation capacity.
Two 45/55MW Rolls Royce Trent 60 aeroderivative turbines
will be delivered mid this year with installation commencing in
Augu st. e two new units are anticipated to increase the capacity
of the Darwin-Katherine power system by nearly 25%.
As electricity demand is currently increasing at about 3%-4%
each year Power Water is planning to bring these two turbines
on line by mid 2012.
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