Specialised maintenance works underway for Qld grid backbone

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Work has restarted on a $15 million project to strengthen Powerlink’s inland transmission network between Southern and Central Queensland.

Powerlink chief executive Paul Simshauser said the project involved replacing 4900 insulator strings on 660 transmission towers between Powerlink’s Calvale (near Biloela) and Halys (near Kingaroy) substations.

“Commissioned in 1998, the 300 kilometre transmission line plays a critical role in powering industry and supporting economic growth, enabling the safe and efficient transfer of electricity along Powerlink’s transmission network,” Mr Simshauser said.

“This essential insulator replacement work ensures the transmission line will continue to operate safely, reliably and cost effectively during its remaining 40 year technical service life.

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“This type of work demonstrates Powerlink’s commitment to effectively maintaining power supply to more than four million Queenslanders.”

Mr Simshauser said work on the long-term project started during 2019 and would be completed over several stages through until June 2022.

“Replacing insulators as they near the end of their technical service life is a cost effective solution for electricity customers, and ensures our network continues to perform reliably into the future,” he said.

“Innovative work practices are being used to replace the ageing insulators while the 275kV transmission line remains fully energised, or ‘live’.

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“Undertaking this specialised maintenance work while the high voltage equipment remains energised minimises potential impacts on customers by avoiding the need for planned outages on our network.

“Insulators are located near the top of transmission towers, supporting the transmission line wires while separating them electrically from the tower. Our live work specialists are able to climb towers and work in close contact with energised equipment using special insulating tools and rigorous work procedures to ensure their safety.

“Activities will be delivered on each tower as safely and quickly as possible. Helicopters may also be used at some towers to reduce impacts on nearby properties and ground-level vegetation.”

Powerlink is working closely with landholders to safely manage any potential impacts associated with the project.