Powerlink Queensland's substation supplying Rockhampton and the wider Central Queensland region received a very important delivery over the weekend. A new 258 tonne, 4 metre high, electricity transformer has been making its way from Gladstone Port over the past few days, finally arriving at its new home at Bouldercombe Substation.
The arrival of a second new transformer is part of the $49 million substation rebuild project expected to be completed by late 2021. The project is being completed in four stages over four years to ensure it can be delivered with minimal customer and community impact. It supports 112 jobs and commenced in early November 2019, for completion by 2023.
The new transformer is a significant piece of network equipment which converts high voltage electricity from Powerlink's transmission network down to a lower voltage suitable for Ergon Energy's distribution network, which in turn delivers electricity to households and businesses. Once this work is complete, the remaining work to replace primary plant on site will start, followed by decommissioning and removal of the old equipment.
The substation was first built in the 1970s and has capably supported industrial and residential growth in the area for more than 40 years. It is now reaching the end of its service life and requires replacement to ensure an ongoing reliable and secure supply of electricity to Central Queensland.
In addition to being an extremely heavy piece of equipment, electricity transformers are also very sensitive. They must remain vertical and be impacted by minimal vibration during transport, which presented its own unique challenges along the 100km journey from Gladstone Port to Bouldercombe.
New innovative methods to get this transformer safely to the substation were implemented, with a particular focus on the current COVID-19 restrictions in place.
Throughout the four year project, Powerlink's focus is on extending the life of the substation at the lowest long run cost to customers, and with the least disruption to the local community.