Critical repairs further secure power supply to Cairns region ahead of storm season

A critical transmission line west of Cairns has undergone important works after significant rain events exposed the footings of five transmission towers in an environmentally significant Wet Tropics area.

Powerlink maintenance inspections identified that the ground at these sites needed to be stabilised to further secure the existing transmission tower footings.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the swift identification and completion of works ensured safe and reliable power supply was maintained to Cairns and surrounding areas ahead of the busy storm and cyclone season.

“The completion of this work highlights the unique and challenging locations some of the state’s 1700km transmission network operates in,” Dr Lynham said.

“With the weather extremes in this region, including cyclones and wet season rainfall, ensuring the power system is resilient and ready is critical.”

Regular maintenance inspections are conducted on Powerlink’s transmission network to identify and prioritise any repair works which may be needed, particularly in the lead up to summer.

Heavy rain in March 2018 saw 485 millimetres fall within 24 hours, leading to the start of ground damage onsite.

Member for Cook Ms Cynthia Lui said this essential work was conducted efficiently and safely while meeting stringent environmental requirements due to the importance of the Wet Tropics area.

“The remote location and constrained access to these transmission towers added a layer of complexity in delivering these repairs,” Ms Lui.

“Fortunately, Powerlink workers were able to complete the job without any impact to power supply in the region.”

Since work commenced onsite in September 2018, Powerlink had to contend with more than 3,500 millimetres of rain to safely complete these works.

Powerlink interim CEO Kevin Kehl said the completed works is timely for summer preparation to ensure power supply but also restore power as safely and quickly as possible in times of disaster.

“There was significant weather damage to the main access track connecting these towers and a creek crossing to negotiate, which required meticulous logistical planning and the development of a site-specific management plan,” Mr Kehl said.

“This project demonstrated Powerlink’s technical expertise in delivering an innovative, cost-effective and long-lasting solution, while keeping customers and the environment top of mind.”

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