Whitsunday Islands power goes underground

Underground feeders have replaced overheard power conductors in the Whitsundays

Power lines have gone underground at the Whitsunday Islands to keep the lights on.

A year on since Tropical Cyclone Debbie left a trail of destruction through the region, underground feeders have now replaced overheard power conductors connecting to the submarine cables.

Ergon Energy led the $4.85 million project, which has connected three underground feeders to the submarine cables that supply power to Hayman, Hamilton, Daydream and South Molle Islands.

“Tourism operators at the end of the line will benefit from a more resilient network the next time some of Queensland’s wild summer weather blows through,” Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said.

“The overhead network has been damaged by cyclones, and is also at risk from bushfires.

“This will significantly reduce Ergon Energy’s maintenance costs and also cut the need for costly diesel generation for island resorts.”

The line route runs through Conway National Park, near Shute Harbour, so environmental protection was a priority for the project team.

“Access was a challenge for construction crews who had to work along the existing narrow, steep, rocky and winding easement,” Dr Lynham said.

“Our contractors Zinfra did a great job on the installation while maintaining supply, ensuring the safety of workers and minimising their impact on a sensitive area.”Construction of the project commenced in May last year and the new underground high-voltage feeders were commissioned in September.

“The repairs carried out soon after Cyclone Debbie were a temporary fix, so it was important to have a permanent solution in place before the start of the storm season,” Dr Lynham said.

While Hamilton Island is open for business, Daydream Island, Hayman Island and South Molle remain closed for redevelopment in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Debbie.