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Nineteen electricity transmission towers damaged by floodwaters from Tropical Cyclone Debbie have been replaced as part of a $7.8 million commitment by Powerlink Queensland to have the network ready for summer 2017/18.

Severe flooding caused extensive damage to towers on Powerlink’s Nebo to Broadsound electricity transmission line, about 100 kilometres south west of Mackay, after Tropical Cyclone Debbie struck in March this year.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said crews had worked hard in remote and challenging conditions to safely replace the towers, which are part of the transmission network supplying bulk electricity to Central and North Queensland.

“Powerlink has replaced the damaged towers with new structures that have been built to the latest design standards to maximise transmission network resilience in severe weather events,” Dr Lynham said.

“When Tropical Cyclone Debbie headed inland it hit the Central Queensland region with some of the heaviest rainfall ever seen in those areas.

“The fast-moving flood waters impacted the foundations of some towers, causing them to fall, and bringing down surrounding towers.

“Despite the damage, Powerlink maintained supply to customers at the time, and while the towers were replaced – a repair project that supported up to 17 jobs.”

Restoring the towers is a key element of the Palaszczuk Government’s Summer Preparedness Plan for this summer.

The plan includes bringing back online the Swanbank E gas-fired power station near Ipswich and boosting the capacity of pumped storage hydro at Wivenhoe Power Station by 70 MW.

Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said Tropical Cyclone Debbie caused the most significant damage to Powerlink’s network of any natural disaster.

“We appreciate the patience and cooperation of landholders and the wider community who were also impacted by this natural disaster,” she said.

“We have delivered this important project to ensure we continue to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to almost four million Queenslanders".

20 Dec 2017