In a major boost to the security of Magnetic Island’s electricity supply, Ergon Energy has re-energised one of two submarine cables supplying the community after extensive repairs.
Regional Manager Northern Networks Sonica Ghimire said it was perfect timing in the countdown to Christmas and New Year when festivities are in full swing.
“We typically see an increase in demand for electricity at this time of year when there’s an influx of visitors to the island and air conditioners are working overtime, so it’s great to have the additional power cable back in service.
“The community’s power needs were met by the second cable while the repairs were in progress.
“A recent window of reasonable weather conditions and ideal tides allowed crews to complete the final steps–the installation of cable joints that were purpose-built for these repairs and the anchoring of the cable to the seabed to reduce the risk of deterioration in the future,” Ms Ghimire said.
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The project has involved work onshore, on a barge and underwater – from civil works on the beach at Nelly Bay to the installation of approximately 850 metres of submarine cable and joints, followed by testing and commissioning.
“This was a complex job in a World Heritage Area and our specialist team ensured any work they undertook had a minimal impact on the environment, based on excellent advice from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
“Ensuring the safety of everyone involved in the repairs, on land, on the water and underwater was also a priority and it’s been a great team effort.
“As a contingency measure we had a fleet of mobile generation installed on the island, but thankfully this was never needed and these units will be transported back to the mainland in coming days,” Ms Ghimire said.
General Manager Field Delivery Chris Hooper said while the cable repairs will improve the resilience and reliability of the island’s electricity supply, Ergon Energy is reminding the community of the need to be prepared for the possibility of power interruptions caused by severe weather events.
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“La Nina increases the risk of cyclones and floods, which can cause significant damage to the electricity network.
“Our crews are ready to respond to unplanned outages, but they cannot go out at the height of the storm or floods, so we all need to be prepared for potential power interruptions over summer,” Mr Hooper said.
In the countdown to summer, Ergon crews also replaced ageing power poles and wires that supply critical communications equipment for emergency services, Townsville Coast Guard and Council.
“This section of network is in tricky terrain near the popular Forts walk, so we had to close the tracks for the public’s safety and use helicopters to airlift poles and other hardware in and out of the work site.
“We’re grateful to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service for their advice and assistance to get the job done safely and minimise our impact on the environment and the community,” Mr Hooper said.