A $15 million investment in Powerlink’s inland transmission network between Southern and Central Queensland is set to strengthen network performance and ensure the safe, reliable and cost effective supply of electricity.
Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said works involved replacing 4,900 insulator strings on 660 transmission towers between Powerlink’s Calvale (near Biloela) and Halys (near Kingaroy) substations.
"Built in 1997, the 300 kilometre transmission line plays a critical role powering industry and supporting economic growth, enabling the safe and efficient transfer of electricity along Queensland’s transmission network," Ms York said.
"This essential insulator replacement work supports 42 jobs and ensures the transmission line will continue to operate reliably during its remaining 40 year technical service life.
"This type of work demonstrates Powerlink’s commitment to effectively maintaining the transmission network, which provides electricity to almost four million Queenslanders."
Ms York said innovative work practices would be used to replace the ageing insulators while the 275kV transmission line remained fully energised, or 'live'.
"Insulators are located near the top of transmission towers, supporting the transmission line wires while separating them electrically from the tower," Ms York said.
"Undertaking this specialised maintenance work while the high voltage equipment remains energised minimises potential impacts on customers by avoiding the need for planned outages on our network.
"Our live work specialists are able to climb towers and work in close contact with energised equipment using special insulating tools in accordance with rigorous work procedures to ensure their safety."
Ms York said Powerlink would work closely with landholders to safely manage any potential impacts associated with the works.
"We aim to conduct our activities with as little disruption as possible to landholders and the community," Ms York said.
"Works will be delivered on each tower as safely and quickly as possible. Helicopters may also be used at some towers to reduce impacts on nearby properties and ground-level vegetation."
Ms York said on-ground works commence in January 2019 and would continue until December 2019, weather dependent.
"Replacing these insulators as they near the end of their technical service life is a cost effective solution for electricity customers, and ensures our network continues to perform reliably into the future."