Ergon Energy has launched the next stage of a $27.5 million upgrade of the electricity network that powers the livelihoods and lifestyles of thousands of customers across the Whitsundays.
Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said the investment was further proof of the power of public ownership of Queenslanders’ electricity assets and a boost to the future of a region with a diverse economy and growing population.
This second stage will include major civil works and construction of the $24 million Cannonvale substation upgrade announced in 2021.
“A safe, reliable power supply is a cornerstone of economic development and this major project is building on existing infrastructure to deliver long-term benefits for households, businesses and industries in this diverse region,” Mr de Brenni said.
“The Whitsundays is a jewel in the crown of Queensland tourism with a thriving agricultural industry and increasing the capacity while boosting the security of the power network in this area will fuel growth for years to come.
“There will also be an immediate economic boost from the project with the Palaszczuk Government’s Buy Queensland procurement approach ensuring support of local and regional jobs during the construction phase.”
Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said more than 8,000 homes and businesses will benefit from this network upgrade, which will be done in stages from now until the end of next year.
“Ergon will be keeping the community informed of when crews will be working in high-traffic areas and customers can sign up for electronic updates on a web page dedicated to the project,” Mrs Gilbert said.
Energy Queensland Chief Executive Officer Rod Duke said the major works program will include expansion of the Cannonvale Substation, duplication of critical sections of the underground network from Cannonvale to Jubilee Pocket, and an upgrade to network communications at key sites.
“Through careful planning and consultation, we will be working to minimise the disruption to the community while aiming to deliver the project on time, weather permitting,” Mr Duke said.
The next stage will build on the work that’s already been done to improve network reliability for residents and businesses at Airlie Beach, Cannonvale, and surrounding areas.
“Preliminary works to pave the way for the Cannonvale Substation upgrade were completed last year, including the installation of a new underground cable across Shute Harbour Road and the construction of a section of overhead network to reduce the impact of unplanned outages,” Mr Duke said.
“The community can also rest assured that our field crews based at the Cannonvale depot are ready to respond 24/7 when there are outages caused by factors beyond our control, like severe storms and floods, which can impact the overhead and underground network.”