Powerlink QLD PSCR Maintaining reliability of supply in the Cairns region - Stage 1

01/04/2021
Market Network Service Provider
StageProject Specification Consultation Report
ConvenorAEMO NSP
Initiated01/04/2021
Accepting submissions?Yes
Submissions close08/07/2021

Powerlink has recently published a ‘Project Specification Consultation Report’ (PSCR) “Maintaining reliability of supply in the Cairns region Stage 1, Addressing the condition risks of the transmission towers between Davies Creek and Bayview Heights.”

The majority of supply to the Cairns region is delivered through the inland 275kV network to Ross, near Townsville. From Ross it is transferred via a 275kV transmission line to Chalumbin, continuing via a second 275kV transmission line from Chalumbin to the Woree Substation on the outskirts of Cairns. These 275kV transmission lines also provide connections to the Mt Emerald Wind Farm and Kareeya Power Station.

Emerging condition risks due to structural corrosion on the 275kV transmission lines between Ross, Chalumbin and Woree substations puts at risk Powerlink’s ongoing compliance with the reliability and service standards set out in the National Electricity Rules (the Rules), Powerlink’s Transmission Authority and applicable regulatory instruments.

Given the non-homogenous condition of the transmission structures over the 348km transmission line route, and subject to the submissions received and cost-benefit analysis undertaken as part of this Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) consultation, there is an opportunity to optimise potential reinvestments by applying a prudent and staged approach to address higher risk components in the nearer term based on deteriorating condition.

The final 16km of the Chalumbin to Woree section of the transmission line, between Davies Creek and Bayview Heights, traverses the environmentally sensitive World Heritage Wet Tropics area terminating near Trinity Inlet Marine Park, and has required a comprehensive ongoing maintenance program due to its heightened exposure to highly corrosive coastal winds.

The condition of the steel lattice towers in this section of the line requires priority action to address their more complex and advanced condition risks and has been proposed under Stage 1 of this RIT-T (Addressing the condition risks of the transmission towers between Davies Creek and Bayview Heights).

The proposed preferred option that is considered to satisfy the RIT-T involves the selective replacement of corroded components and the full repaint of the impacted towers by October 2023.

The indicative capital cost of the RIT‑T project for the preferred option is $38.37 million in 2020/21 prices.

In accordance with the requirements of the Rules, a summary of the PSCR is made available on the AEMO website. A copy of the ‘Project Specification Consultation Report’ can be obtained from the Powerlink website on the RIT-T Consultations page or by emailing networkassessments@powerlink.com.au.

Submissions on the PSCR are required by the closing date of 8 July 2021.

Any enquiries in the first instance should be directed to:

Roger Smith
Manager Network and Alternate Solutions
Powerlink Queensland
PO Box 1193
VIRGINIA, QLD 4014
Tel: (+617) 3860 2328

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