Project EnergyConnect powers on at Buronga

Aerial photo of the purpose-built workers camp at Buronga for Project EnergyConnect
The purpose-built workers camp at Buronga for Project EnergyConnect

Construction of Australia’s largest transmission project is progressing well, with the first group of workers moving into a 30ha purpose-built camp and the pouring of the first concrete foundations for steel towers at Buronga, near Mildura. 

The $1.8 billion EnergyConnect project will allow energy to be shared between NSW, South Australia and Victoria for the first time and enable the connection of new renewable generation to support the nation’s clean energy future. 

Related article: Transformers arrive at Port Kembla for EnergyConnect

Transgrid project director Stephen Troughton said, “EnergyConnect is the biggest project ever undertaken by our company—it is a key part of the energy superhighway which will transform energy supply for millions of Australians. 

“Our construction partner SecureEnergy JV has completed the first concrete foundations for 19 towers (of 291) on the alignment from Buronga to South Australia. 

“About 6,000 concrete footings will be required to support 1,500 towers across the project from Wagga Wagga to the South Australian border,” Troughton said. 

The landmark project is providing a boost to local and Indigenous communities through employment, opportunities for local businesses and suppliers, improvements in infrastructure and increased economic activity. 

“EnergyConnect is a once-in-a-generation transmission project that will improve the affordability, reliability and security of electricity supply and we are really pleased construction is moving full steam ahead for this critical infrastructure.” 

More than 70 workers are now living in EnergyConnect’s first worker accommodation camp built on a 30ha site at Buronga. The 200-module camp will house up to 340 workers, with high-quality living amenities and recreational facilities and services including a gym, Wi-Fi, wet mess, retail facilities, and delicious food prepared daily onsite. 

It is one of five purpose-built camps being constructed to accommodate workers across the project alignment with associated offices and laydowns for equipment. 

“We are engaging a workforce which is unprecedented for a transmission construction project in the country, with EnergyConnect set to create 1,500 jobs,” SecureEnergy JV project director Samuel Basanta Lopez said. 

“Providing accommodation for our workforce is one of the first steps in constructing Australia’s largest transmission line and ensuring they are safe and comfortable away from home. 

“A broad range of workers from across Australia are living at the Buronga camp including engineers, logistics and material managers, labourers, catering staff and plant operators, with more project team members to arrive. 

“We are committed to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of our workers who are often away from their homes for extended periods. 

“These high-quality camps provide comfortable living and recreational facilities and services for our workers and also reduce travel to construction sites to minimise fatigue. They also ease pressure on the local rental market and accommodation providers.”

Related article: Environmental approval for eastern leg of EnergyConnect

The Buronga site will be home to one of the largest substations in Australia. It will also be one of the most complex in the Southern Hemisphere for technology and engineering with equipment including two 120MVA capacity synchronous condensers, five phase-shifting transformers, three power transformers and four shunt reactors. 

Delivery of EnergyConnect is expected in late 2024. 

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