One of Australia’s largest powerlines fires up

One of Australia’s largest powerlines fires up
Names (L-R): WA Member for Agricultural Region Paul Brown, Western Power CEO Paul Italiano, WA Energy Minister Dr Mike Nahan and WA Member Moore Shane Love

Western Power’s Mid-West Energy Project, featuring the construction of one of Australia’s largest powerlines, has been officially declared ready to be energised by West Australia’s Treasurer and Energy Minister Dr Mike Nahan.

The new 330,000V transmission powerline transports electricity 190km from Perth to the state’s mid-west.

Western Power’s chief executive officer Paul Italiano said the new powerline was the largest built in WA since the line to Kalgoorlie was constructed in the mid-1980s.

“The Mid-West Energy Project, which includes the construction of a 190km transmission line from Perth to the Mid-West, a 70km line to power Karara’s iron ore mine and substantial upgrades to several substations is a substantial achievement in electrical engineering, planning, budgeting and construction,” Mr Italiano said.

“To deliver one of the state’s largest infrastructure projects under the
$406 million budget set for the project is a significant achievement.

“The project required extensive consultation with land owners, environmental approvals, a new line route to be planned, the old 132kV wood pole powerline to be dismantled, and access tracks to be constructed, all before the 388 lattice steel towers and almost 2900km of powerlines could be installed.

“The average height of the transmission towers is 58m, with the tallest reaching 70m. To put this into perspective, our 11-floor Wellington Street building is 59m tall.”

The average weight of each tower is 24 tonnes. Approximately 9300 tonnes of steel was used – almost the same weight combined as the Eiffel Tower.

The new line provides a 500MW increase in the capacity of the network in the mid-west, which will increase the potential for industry growth in the region, and provide the potential for the expansion of local industries and economies.

Importantly, it will facilitate the connection of renewable generation opportunities, particularly wind, and future gas-powered generation.

The transmission line formed the key component of the Mid-West Energy Project, which also required dismantling a 132kV wood pole line between Pinjar and Eneabba, incorporating a 70km transmission line from Eneabba to Three Springs to power Karara’s iron ore mine, upgrading the existing Neerabup to Pinjar line from 132kV to 330kV, constructing a new 330kV line circuit bay at Neerabup, and undergrounding approximately 30 sections of smaller lines beneath the new 330kV line.