Lilyvale Substation, located approximately 50km from Emerald, plays a critical role in the supply of electricity to customers in Queensland's Central West region, as well as the Blackwater and Bowen Basin mining areas. Planning studies have confirmed there is a long-term requirement to continue to supply the existing electricity services provided by Lilyvale Substation supporting a diverse range of customer needs in the area.
Commissioned over 38 years ago, much of the substation's primary plant, including two of the original three 132/66 kV transformers, are reaching the end of their technical service lives and are no longer supported by the manufacturer, with limited spares available to rectify a failure if one were to occur. The increasing likelihood of faults arising from the condition of Lilyvale's ageing and obsolete transformers and primary plant remaining in service beyond October 2022, exposes customers to the risks and consequences of an increasingly unreliable electricity supply.
In May 2019 Powerlink published a 'Project Specification Consultation Report' (PSCR) identifying the proposed preferred option to address the risks to supply and claiming exemption from producing a 'Project Assessment Draft Report' as allowed for under NER Clause 5.16.4(z1).
Interest was shown by three non-network proponents in response to the PSCR, with subsequent discussions being held with two. However, the proponents ultimately decided not to progress with any formal submissions. As a result, no additional credible options to meet the identified need were identified and the outcomes of the economic analysis contained in the Project Assessment Conclusions Report (PACR) remain unchanged from those published in the PSCR.
The PACR recommends the replacement of two 132/66kV 80MVA transformers with two 160MVA transformers and the full bay replacement of primary plant in selected bays by October 2022. The substation's third 80MVA transformer will be decommissioned under a separate operational project by December 2027.
The indicative capital cost of the RIT-T project for the preferred option is $26.27 million in 2018/19 prices. Powerlink is the proponent of this network option.
In the context of engagement activities with consumers and the general community, Powerlink has assessed this project as 'minor' on the RIT-T Stakeholder Engagement Matrix.
A copy of the Project Assessment Conclusions Report is available below.