SunSouth 132 kV Power Project – Final Initial Assessment Report

2.
2.1

Project justification and background
Need for network upgrades
2.1.1 Project in regional context

The Sunshine Coast region is experiencing significant population growth with an estimated resident population over 320,000 people that is expected increase to over 420,000 people by year 2026. For the period 2006 to 2026, the expected annual growth rate will be around 2.4 per cent. A corollary of such growth is that the Sunshine Coast region’s summer peak electrical demand was 240 megawatts in 1999 but by 2009, this demand had grown to over 400 megawatts, an increase in peak demand of around 78 per cent over this same period. Forecasting by ENERGEX has determined that future residential and commercial growth in the Sunshine Coast region will heighten load demand and ultimately require network augmentation to maintain network performance and security of supply. In the instance of upgrades to high voltage powerlines above 66 kV, planning approval will be required under the SPA. ENERGEX has developed a Network Development Plan for the Sunshine Coast area which identifies the need for network augmentation comprising four new 132 kV substations interconnected by new and upgraded 132 kV powerlines. For this Project, the proponent will pursue community infrastructure designation under the SPA, as the proposed developments will provide critically required community infrastructure to augment the existing electricity network in South-east Queensland.

2.1.2

Electricity network demands

The recent urban growth and enhanced lifestyle choices in South-east Queensland have placed significantly increased demands on the existing ENERGEX network. Various factors have contributed to these demands and result from the existing and future expansion of development within the region:

Volume of Demand: the increase in households, population, commercial and industrial development has meant that the network has been stretched to cater for ever increasing supply demands. Demand is set to increase significantly in the region, which includes both private development and State government initiatives for infrastructure projects. Changing Demand Patterns: the changing face of South-east Queensland has for some time included a rise in the number of inner city medium to high density residential and mixed–use developments, and associated support networks such as retail, commercial, restaurants, community facilities and the like. Demand for power supply is increasing in many areas, due in part to the proliferation of mixed use development, with demand trending towards demand at all times of the day rather than the historical morning and afternoon peaks in power needs. Changing Use Patterns: The typical household structure in South-east Queensland has over time, changed to an increasing number of one to two person households, as has the pattern of power use. Commensurate with that trend, the relative cost of power has steadily declined over the last few decades and, households now consume more electricity per head than ever before. This coupled with the affordability of household

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fixtures such as air–conditioning units and modern, larger televisions has driven demand to all time peaks. This is expected to continue strongly over the next 10+ years.

Energy Conservation and Non–network Solutions: The Sunshine Coast Energy Conservation Community was launched in March 2010 in partnership with Sunshine Coast Regional Council, and was the first of its kind in Queensland. Qualifying residents living in the suburbs of Buderim, Mooloolaba, Mountain Creek and Sippy Downs were invited to help ENERGEX reduce peak demand through the installation of a simple energy conservation device on air-conditioners and pool pumps. These devices enable the appliances to be remotely cycled by ENERGEX for short periods during peak demand times, taking pressure off the network. The cycling technology has already been used in Australia and is in use in other countries overseas. To date more than 900 devices have been installed, resulting in an estimated 1.2 MKW under the programs’ control. In early November 2011, ENERGEX rolled out this programme to all communities on the Sunshine Coast. Over the long-term, the move to a more sustainable use of the existing electricity network through demand management initiatives such as the ECC program and the installation of domestic solar electric photovoltaic systems may enable ENERGEX to defer construction of new infrastructure. Notwithstanding, the proposed new infrastructure scheduled for construction within the medium term planning horizon as detailed in this report will be required simply to meet current growth in electricity demand.

2.1.3

ENERGEX strategic network planning

ENERGEX’s Network Strategic Development Plan in part aims to address the expected need to augment the sub-transmission network to meet the growing load demand of South-east Queensland. It essentially provides a framework in which to develop the electricity distribution network to maximise its economic life and assist in determining appropriate locations of future infrastructure developments, as required. Demand forecasts are an integral part of ENERGEX strategic planning. They are based on company and dwellings development forecasts to predict future performance and demand impacts on electricity networks and also highlights potential constraints requiring attention. Network security is the ability of the network to cope with faults without uncontrolled loss of electrical load throughout the network. The ENERGEX sub-transmission network is generally planned on an N-1 basis, contingencies which provide the network with an alternative source of supply. An effective N-1 capability is an important measure of security and is reviewed annually as part of the development planning process. The main purpose of the Network Development Plan is to:

 

identify future expected network limitations, grouping them as appropriate for resolution through capital investment projects. A list of capital projects which address these identified limitations is then prepared, for the next five financial years on an annual rotating basis provide estimates of resource requirements for the next five years prepare a network capital budget for the next five years.

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2.1.4

Network requirements

To comply with N-1 Network Security Planning requirements, ENERGEX needs to augment its high voltage electrical distribution network in the SunSouth Power Project Area by the construction of a new overhead 132 kV double-circuit powerline connecting the proposed Bells Creek North, Birtinya and Palmview substations, via the Meridan Plains East substation to the Mooloolaba substation. This augmentation will address expected electricity security supply issues associated with future growth in the region, particularly in light of recent regional planning focus on growth in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

2.1.5

Existing network and proposed upgrades

The factors influencing electricity network demand are relevant to the Sunshine Coast region and the various infrastructure developments planned to occur in forthcoming years. The ultimate timing of electrical power demand within the Project Area is expected to vary and is influenced by the following development factors:

The Queensland Government has land holdings south and west of Caloundra Racecourse which have recently been developed into large lot industrial estates. DTMR is currently investigating a corridor for a future electric rail line proposed to link Beerwah and Maroochydore via the Bells Creek area (known as the CabooltureMaroochydore Corridor Study). The Sunshine Coast Regional Council has outlined future urban development on undeveloped land in the Palmview Structure Plan area south of Sippy Downs. The Meridan Plains Extractive Resources Area Master Plan prepared by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council provides direction for the development of extractive resources in the Meridan Plains area. The Sunshine Coast Regional Business and Industry Park is currently supplied by a long 11 kV network. The area is forecast for significant industrial loading with ‘expected’ consistent block load increases over the next 10 years. The existing ENERGEX Caloundra and Currimundi zone substations do not have enough capacity to supply such industrial load requirements. The future development of the Sunshine Coast Regional Business and Industry Park (Sunshine Coast University Hospital) precinct and increased growth around Kawana requires an additional 132 kV injection at Birtinya to ensure a reliable and high quality electrical supply into the hospital and surrounding region.

The southern Sunshine Coast area is currently supplied by a single-circuit 132 kV ring extending from the Mooloolaba substation, progressively constructed in the mid to late 1970’s. The Bells Creek area, south of Caloundra, is estimated to cater for up to 50,000 people in coming years. The predicted population increase has been determined by ENERGEX to place additional pressures on the existing distribution network supplied by 11 kV powerlines from the Mooloolaba, Caloundra and Currimundi 132/11 kV electrical zone substations. ENERGEX’s strategic planning models determined that the increased loads may lead to network overload, thereby risking loss of power and creating quality of supply issues to

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customers and potentially compromising statutory reliability obligations unless augmentation of new high voltage electrical infrastructure is undertaken within the required timeframes. Similarly, proposed planned development south of Sippy Downs is to significantly increase residential dwellings in the area as a component of the Regional Development Area specified in the South East Queensland Regional Plan 2009–2031. The Palmview Regional Structure Plan Area provides for the establishment of new residential neighbourhoods predicted to establish 6,200 dwellings and up to 8,000 dwellings 2 and a retail/commercial gross floor area in the vicinity of 18,000 m by year 2031 with an associated residential population of 14,000 and up to 17,000 in the same period. This will produce a total load in the order of 20 MVA to 25 MVA based on a load of 2.4 kVA per 2 dwelling and 115 VA/m for commercial/retail floor area. Such development necessitates a new 132/11 kV zone substation on the southern side of the Palmview development with a dedicated double-circuit 132 kV injection. ENERGEX identified in its 2004/5 review of the Network Strategic Plan a need for future 132/11 kV zone substations at Birtinya, in addition to the proposed Bells Creek North substation. ENERGEX recognised a need to de-load the existing 132/11 kV powerline at Kawana as well as reduce the length of 11 kV feeders in the area to improve both the quality and reliability of electricity supply to the region. In addition to the proposed substations at Birtinya, Bells Creek North and Palmview, ENERGEX proposes to develop a fourth substation at Meridan Plains East which will be the central node for the proposed 21.5 km 132 kV powerline connecting Mooloolaba to Bells Creek, Palmview and Birtinya.

2.1.6

Network options

ENERGEX’s existing 132 kV powerline ring between Mooloolaba and Caloundra is the extent of the region’s 132 kV high voltage sub-transmission network. There are no ENERGEX sub-transmission lines in the region available for consideration as alternative network solutions. Therefore, limited network options necessitate the focus to be on developing an effective augmentation strategy for the existing 132 kV line. ENERGEX’s Network Development Planning Department advised in November 2009 that no viable alternative network solutions were available from Powerlink Queensland’s (Powerlink) transmission grid. Powerlink’s current (or proposed) transmission grid does not comprise any transmission lines that present any feasible augmentation opportunities that defer or remove the need for the Mooloolaba to Bells Creek North 132 kV network augmentation in the SunSouth 132 kV Power Project Area.

2.1.7

Non-network options

There are currently no non-network options to the proposed network augmentation; however the Project has not yet progressed to a regulatory test. ENERGEX’s planning proposals assume an approximated establishment and operational cost of $300,000 /MVA per annum to defer capital works with a maximum load reduction of 3 MVA. Based on this assumption, the implementation of a network demand solution is not a viable option to the needs of the network and was not considered in ENERGEX’s Net Present Value (NPV) analysis.

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It is noted that ENERGEX has however implemented some non-network demand management initiatives in the Mooloolaba, Mountain Creek and Sippy Downs areas (Sunshine Coast Energy Conservation Community) that despite being unable to reduce the need for the proposed augmentation, may facilitate the deferral of a future proposed Palmwoods to Mooloolaba reinforcement.

2.1.8

Network augmentation benefits

The primary benefit of the Project is that additional network capacity can be provided to meet future network reliability and security objectives resulting from anticipated demand growth. The following benefits will result from the proposed augmentation works:
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 

load constraints will be relieved on the region’s 11 kV network reliable energy supply can be ensured for Bells Creek North, Birtinya and Palmview areas in line with predicted development and Regional Plan targets ENERGEX will progressively continue to have the capacity to meet N-1 criteria an improvement of reliability and security of supply for residents and businesses in the region the region’s future growth in electricity consumption will be catered as population significantly increases and usage patterns change.

2.2

Area selection process
In July 2008, Parsons Brinckerhoff was commissioned by ENERGEX to prepare an Area Selection Report that presented investigations undertaken to identify all feasible powerline corridor options that would enable a future 132 kV high voltage double-circuit powerline to be constructed from the existing Mooloolaba substation to the future Bells Creek North substation. The report was submitted to ENERGEX in November 2008, which recommended a then preferred corridor option. In January 2009, Sunshine Regional Coast Council released the Palmview Position Paper which identified future urban land use intentions within the Palmview Structure Plan area. Due to the release of the paper and further consultation with Sunshine Coast Regional Council regarding updated ENERGEX network requirements, ENERGEX commissioned Parsons Brinckerhoff to review the outcomes of the Area Selection Report (dated November 2008) to include connections into its future Palmview and Birtinya substations. The resulting Area Selection Report and Addendum was submitted to ENERGEX in August 2010. A copy of the Area Selection Report and Addendum is included in Appendix D. Based on the comparative assessment undertaken and presented in that report, a preferred alignment option was identified that on balance had the least overall planning, environmental, social and economic impacts. The recommended alignment option (referred to as Option 3 in the above report) maximised the existing powerline easements and potential refurbishment of existing infrastructure, reduced environmental impacts and was more consistent with the future urban development of the Palmview Structure Plan area and development of the Meridan Plains Extractive Resource Area. While Option 3 was identified as the preferred powerline corridor option, issues of integration with infrastructure development, nature conservation, visual amenity and cultural heritage warranted further study following acceptance of the preferred option by ENERGEX.

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These issues required further detailed investigation to determine and quantify likely impacts and mitigation measures and involved detailed environmental assessment and consultation following the process as set out in the ’Guidelines about Environmental Assessment and Public Consultation Procedures for Designating Land for Community Infrastructure’, noted in Section 1.7.1.

2.2.1

Process to identify corridor

The Area Selection Report and Addendum to the Area Selection Report utilised a constraints analysis for the study area involving both desktop methods and field reconnaissance. On the basis of constraints identified through the constraints analysis, a preliminary corridor and Birtinya substation connection option was established. Corridor options were developed in accordance with a framework of relevant legislation, policy and practices as well as taking into consideration aspects for relevant objectives and criteria of a Sustainability Assessment Framework (SAF), specifically developed for ENERGEX to provide an overarching framework to guide high-level decision making when assessing possible network corridors. This framework is based on:
     

international sustainability initiatives sustainability frameworks reporting frameworks triple bottom line methodologies environmental management systems Australian industry best practice.

The SAF incorporates a Sustainability Assessment Tool (SAT), a tool for multi-criteria assessment that enabled a differentiation between corridor options at a broad level utilising a robust and replicable sustainability assessment methodology based on environmental, social and economic aspects. The corridor options were developed taking into consideration aspects for relevant objectives and criteria of the SAT that related to spatial constraints and opportunities in the study area. This included limiting impacts as far as feasible and being consistent with existing and future land uses (including resource development and transport corridors), as identified in strategic land use planning documents, and minimising environmental impacts in relation to vegetation clearing.

2.3

Corridor options overview from area selection process
The following outlines a range of both supportable and non-supportable corridor options that were considered during the area selection process that culminated in the Area Selection Report and associated Addendum Report which was submitted to ENERGEX in August 2010 (refer Appendix D).

2.3.1
2.3.1.1

Unsupportable corridor options
Bruce Highway

A western alignment, co-locating the powerline along the Bruce Highway was considered. Potentially a corridor could make use of the existing road infrastructure corridor, following the
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Bruce Highway from the Mooloolaba substation to the south, turning east along Pierce Avenue. Proposed commercial development and municipal infrastructure on the southern side of the Sunshine Motorway in the Sippy Downs area significantly constrained any alignment development to connect to the Bruce Highway corridor. Further, construction along the Bruce Highway itself would also be technically difficult, particularly in terms of the extra length, easement acquisition and associated planning and social impacts of the line crossing into the Palmview and Birtinya areas notwithstanding any potential constraint to future road widening schemes. Additionally, an existing 132 kV aerial powerline (F777/778) would need to be crossed by the proposed powerline adjacent to new residential development south of Bellflower Road, should this option be pursued. Key constraints were considered to be:
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 

length/cost constructability conflicts with existing and proposed (major) infrastructure and future urban development conflicts with existing commercial and residential development in Sippy Downs and Palmview conflicts with the Palmview Conservation Park and the Beerburrum State Forest possible need of an additional switching yard at Caloundra Road to provide injection north to Palmview and Birtinya as well as south to Bells Creek North substation visual amenity impacts.

Due to significant construction constraints this option was not considered feasible and was not assessed further. 2.3.1.2 Sunshine Motorway

An eastern corridor, co-locating the powerline along the Sunshine Motorway and Kawana Way parallel and close to the existing 132 kV powerline (F804/1) was also considered. From Kawana Island Boulevard, this new line would traverse south to re-join the existing 132 kV powerline (F804/2) at Premier Circuit, continuing south to the future Birtinya substation. This new double-circuit powerline would then need to traverse west to the proposed Meridan Plains substation site at the corner of Rainforest Drive and Reservoirs Avenue in order to provide injection into Palmview and Bells Creek North. Construction along the Sunshine Motorway would be technically difficult, particularly in terms of the extra length, easement acquisition as well as the associated environmental and social impacts of the line crossing the Parrearra and Birtinya areas. Key constraints were considered to be:
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length/cost constructability conflicts with existing (major) infrastructure and future commercial and urban development conflicts with existing commercial and residential development in Parrearra and Birtinya areas conflicts with the Mooloolah River National Park and Mooloolah River environmental regions visual amenity impacts.

Due to significant construction constraints this option was not considered feasible and was not assessed further.

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2.3.1.3

Sippy Downs

A potential option to duplicate the existing 132 kV double-circuit powerline (F777/778) south from the Mooloolaba substation along the eastern and southern boundaries of the University of the Sunshine Coast before turning south and paralleling Sir Raleigh Drive was reviewed. This line would continue within the existing double width easement parallel to Sir Raleigh Drive before crossing University Way and Sippy Creek to traverse to the centre of the proposed Palmview Development area. This proposed corridor was not considered feasible due to the proposed future Palmview development and the need to retain the existing spare easement capacity through Sippy Downs for future reinforcement to the Mooloolaba zone substation, if required. Key constraints were considered to be:
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length/cost constructability conflicts with existing and proposed infrastructure conflicts with existing commercial and residential development in Palmview visual amenity impacts.

Due to significant construction constraints this option was not considered feasible and was not assessed further. 2.3.1.4 Caloundra Mooloolaba Road (Corbould Way)

A corridor option was investigated that sought to entirely avoid the Meridan Plains Resource area, which is identified on the Sunshine Coast Regional Council Planning Scheme mapping. The resource area is generally between Caloundra Road and the Mooloolah River in the middle of the Project Area. An option was considered that passed to the east and south of the resource area. By departing from the corridor at Meridan Way (associated with Option 3 of the Area Selection Report) and continuing south to the Caloundra Mooloolaba Road, turning west to travel on the northern edge of the Caloundra Mooloolaba Road to a point where it crossed Westaway Road. From there the alignment of this option continued along the southern boundary of Lot 8 SP115552 to the western side of Lot 5 RP801895 and then continued to follow the same corridor noted in the report as Option 5 to the Bells Creek North substation site. This corridor was not considered feasible due to a range of issues. A primary disadvantage of this option is that it would result in the effectiveness of the substation at Reservoirs Avenue being substantially diminished. The need for this substation to be supported by a circuit of distribution lines making ‘tee branches’ would result in a less robust network creating operational inefficiencies, potentially leading to quality of supply issues. Although this option would avoid a powerline being located within the resource area along Honey Farm Road, which is identified as a haul route through the resource area, it is longer and more costly, would have required clearing of more vegetation (predominantly least concern regrowth west of Meridan Way) and would have encroached into an area along the Caloundra Mooloolaba Road that is proposed for a batter stability zone and visual screen between the Caloundra Mooloolaba Road and the resource area. Given these limitations, this option was not considered feasible and was not assessed further.

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2.3.1.5

Do nothing

In proposing this Project, ENERGEX also considered a ‘do nothing’ option, however, this approach is not considered appropriate. As previously mentioned, the expected population growth of South-east Queensland and particularly expected future residential development in Palmview, coupled with industrial and infrastructure development at Birtinya, Bells Creek and Caloundra South will result in high electrical load demand. While it is possible that the rates of this growth may vary in the short-term, the network augmentation will eventually be necessary in the medium-term planning horizon. ENERGEX’s Network Strategic Plan provides strategic planning guidance to facilitate Town Planning and the timely acquisition of easements to reserve land in growth areas for future electrical infrastructure augmentations ensuring that optimal and efficient development of the electricity network proceeds according to statutory and regional infrastructure strategic planning requirements. Additionally, under the Electricity Act 1994, the National Electricity Rules and the terms of its distribution licence, ENERGEX is obliged to reinforce or augment its existing distribution network where necessary to ensure reliability of supply. As noted in Section 2.1.2, above, the forecast increased electricity demand in the area makes the proposed Project essential.

2.3.2

Supportable corridor alignment options

Once the broader routes had been considered, more detailed investigation commenced and the Area Selection Report assessed in detail the following supportable corridor options. 2.3.2.1 Option 1 (north to south)

Option 1 of the Area Selection Report commences at the existing Mooloolaba substation and extends in a South-easterly direction to travel adjacent to Dixon Road, across the Sunshine Motorway and then follows Claymore Road adjacent to the Mooloolah River National Park. At the intersection of Claymore Road and University Way the corridor continues south to travel down University Way and crossed a stand of Melaleuca forest and into an open area prior to crossing Sippy Creek. From Sippy Creek, the corridor heads south following a similar pathway to that of a proposed major road corridor (as illustrated on the Palmview Position Paper) and intersected the site of the future ENERGEX Palmview substation. From the substation site, the corridor followed a proposed major road corridor across Laxton Road and ran adjacent to an unformed section of Westaway Road to cross across the Mooloolah River adjacent to Westaway Road and link to a future ENERGEX Meridan Plains East substation near the intersection of Reservoirs Avenue and Rainforest Drive. The injection point into the Birtinya substation site commenced from the future Meridan Plains East substation, and utilised the road reserve containing easement of the existing ENERGEX F803 line and followed this to the intersection of Rainforest Drive and Meridan Way. From this point, the new 132 kV single-circuit line corridor followed the northern boundary of the new Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s sports fields (Lot 606 SP195889) until it turned in a north-easterly direction along the eastern boundary of the Pacific Lutheran College. From there, it followed adjacent to the existing water and sewer easement in a north easterly direction, crossing the future MMTC corridor and continuing until it intersects with the ENERGEX F804/2 easement. From that point, the corridor was located on the western side
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of the ENERGEX F804/2 easement and traversed north until it connected into the future Birtinya substation site on Lot 4 SP210782. The corridor for the connection to the Bells Creek North substation commenced from the future Meridan Plains East substation and followed Honey Farm Road in a south western direction and continued along the entire length of Sattler Road before crossing Caloundra Road and continuing in a South-easterly direction to link with Racecourse Road. The Racecourse Road and Caloundra Road interchange was upgraded in 2007 to facilitate a double carriageway for Racecourse Road, with a significantly widened road reserve. Depending on the availability of suitable land, the corridor could then traverse Racecourse Road within the road reserve. At the intersection of Racecourse Road and Pierce Avenue, the proposed corridor continued in a southerly direction traversing Pierce Avenue and utilising the eastern road reserve of Racecourse Road extension into the Sunshine Coast Regional Business and Industry Park. A partial easement will be required over Lot 280 CG4920 which lies to the east of the Sunshine Coast Regional Business and Industry Park. The proposed corridor for the first stage of construction terminates at the proposed Bells Creek North substation site (Lot 38) located at the corner of Racecourse Road and Fred Chaplin Circuit. 2.3.2.2 Option 2 (north to south)

Option 2 noted in the Area Selection Report commenced at the existing Mooloolaba substation and extended in a South-easterly direction to travel adjacent to Dixon Road, across the Sunshine Motorway. It then follows Claymore Road adjacent to the Mooloolah River National Park following the existing ENERGEX F803 single-circuit 132 kV corridor to the future Meridan Plains East substation near the intersection of Reservoirs Avenue and Rainforest Drive. The corridor for the injection into the Birtinya substation site follows the existing ENERGEX F803 line until the intersection of Rainforest Drive and Meridan Way. From this point the new 132 kV single-circuit line corridor follows the northern boundary of the new Sunshine Coast Regional Council sports fields (Lot 606 SP195889), across a potential future Council road connecting into Woodlands Boulevard until it turned in a northerly direction to travel within the western boundary of the MMTC corridor. This corridor will cross Woodlands Boulevard and a north travelling on-ramp to the future motorway. The corridor continued north on the western side of the MMTC and at a point directly west of the Birtinya substation site turns east to connect to the Birtinya substation site via South Road. The corridor for the connection to the Bells Creek North substation commences from the Meridan Plains East substation and follows Honey Farm Road, paralleling the existing underground water line to the north-west corner of Lot 8 SP115552. From there, it turned to a South-easterly direction crossing Lot 8 SP115552 diagonally to the north-eastern corner of Lot 5 RP 801895. From this point it travels south along the boundary line wholly within Lot 7 RP913729, to cross Caloundra Road. The alignment then turns to the south-west and continues in a southerly direction adjacent to the alignment of Racecourse Road to terminate at the proposed Bells Creek North substation site (Lot 38) located at the corner of Racecourse Road and Fred Chaplin Circuit. 2.3.2.3 Option 3 (north to south)

Option 3 is the same as Option 2, except for the injection into the Birtinya substation site. For Option 3 the corridor follows the existing ENERGEX F803 line down Meridan Way further than Option 2 and avoids the northern boundary of the sports fields within Lot 606
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SP195889 by crossing to the south of the proposed future sport field complex. The corridor then turns in a northerly direction to travel within the western boundary of the MMTC corridor, to north of Woodland Boulevard, before crossing the MMTC in a northeast direction until it links to the western side of the ENERGEX F804/2 easement and extends north until it connects to the future Birtinya substation site on Lot 4 SP210782, via South Road. 2.3.2.4 Option 4 (north to south)

Option 4 noted in the Area Selection Report follows the same as Option 3, except for the injection into the Birtinya substation site. For Option 4 the corridor to the Birtinya substation site departs from the ENERGEX F803 line approximately 1 km north of Rainforest Drive, and travels in an easterly direction to link directly into the Birtinya substation site. 2.3.2.5 Option 5 (north to south)

Option 5 is the same as Option 3, with the exception that between the future Meridan Plains East substation at the corner of Rainforest Drive and Reservoirs Avenue and the northern boundary of Lot 5 RP 801895, the line follows the Westaway Road reserve south and then traverses west along the southern boundary of Lot 8 SP115552 to the western side of Lot 5 RP 801895. 2.3.2.6 Connection to Currimundi substation investigation

Following a preliminary review by ENERGEX of the corridor options developed above as they relate to optimal network configurations, ENERGEX identified that it may be strategically preferable to connect a future 132 kV single-circuit from Mooloolaba transmission substation into the existing Currimundi zone substation rather than a future Birtinya substation. To explore the range of issues associated with a potential connection to the Currimundi substation instead of the Birtinya substation location, three sub-options were developed by ENERGEX, that depart from a common location in all corridor options (except Option 4) to connect to the Currimundi zone substation. These sub-options were compared with the ‘base case’ of connection into Birtinya substation. Accordingly the ‘Connection to Currimundi Substation’ investigation considered the four options outlined below: 1. 2. Option 1: base case – Meridan Way (Rainforest Drive) to Birtinya – overhead along MMTC and Council sports field. Option 2 A – Meridan Way (Rainforest Drive) to Parklands and Saffron Drive to Currimundi substation part overhead and underground. This alignment doubles the existing single F803 circuit to Saffron Drive then underground to Currimundi. Option 2 B – Meridan Way (Rainforest Drive)/Caloundra Motorway to Grey Gum Place to Creekside Boulevard then to the Currimundi substation by double-circuiting the existing single-circuit F804, all as a new overhead powerline. Option 2 C – Meridan Way (Rainforest Drive)/Caloundra Motorway to Sunjewel Boulevard then along Currimundi Creek to Currimundi substation, partially overhead and partially underground. This alignment traversed a Council reserve and freehold land containing 'not of concern' vegetation at the headwaters of Currimundi Creek then

3.

4.

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underground along road opposite Currimundi Creek, winding its way into western side of Currimundi substation. These options were subject to comparative analysis by using the same methodology as outlined in Section 2.2.1, including undertaking SAT analysis and scoring. The results of this analysis confirmed that Option 1 (the base case, involving connection to the Birtinya substation) retained an overall advantage considering a range of planning, environmental, social economic factors.

2.4

Further alignment alternatives
Consultation with key stakeholders including landowners and Sunshine Coast Regional Council on the preferred study corridor commenced in early 2011. Outcomes of this consultation resulted in numerous minor alignment alternatives being suggested. Below is an overview of the alternatives considered for each section of the Project. In addition, although submissions received during the first round of public consultation did not result in any changes to ENERGEX’s proposed alignment, additional clarifications and developments on the Greenlink between Palmview and Birtinya have been included.

2.4.1

Mooloolaba substation to Meridan Plains East substation

A minor amendment was made to the alignment in this section of the Project on Lot 37 C3147, to the north of the Mooloolah River. This amendment involves the alignment leaving the existing road reserve approximately 215 m north of the Mooloolah River, to cross Lot 37 C3147 to align with the existing powerline crossing of the Mooloolah River and with the existing easement on the southern side of the Mooloolah River. This objective of this amendment was to remove the need for two tension pole structures, and allow for a direct section of the powerline crossing of the Mooloolah River. It is proposed to surrender the existing easements within Lot 37 on C3147 and revegetate the area of the old easement and previously cleared but unmade road reserve parallel with the Mooloolah River when the existing single-circuit powerline is removed. Accordingly, the alignment in this section of the Project was amended as described above to be further assessed as part of the IAR. In Claymore Road between the southern end of the University of the Sunshine Coast University and University Way (where Claymore Road turns due east) there were three distinct options investigated for this 1.8 km section of the powerline. The three options were: 1. Construct the overhead double-circuit powerline in-situ on the same general alignment within the western side of the road reserve. This option has been adopted pending the possible ability to subsequently adopt Option C, provided the required road reserve and associated approvals are sufficiently established before 2015. Underground a new single-circuit powerline in road reserve, and retain the existing single-circuit overhead powerline. This was not favoured due to its very high cost and future constraints it places on the ability to upgrade Claymore Road. Construct the overhead double-circuit powerline on the eastern side of a widened road reserve. This latter option, although preferred, is only possible if the decision to widen
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2.

3.

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Claymore Road is made by Sunshine Coast Regional Council before 2015 and agreement is made in Council’s scope to allow the double-circuit powerline to be located on and within the eastern side of a widened road reserve. An alternative alignment was considered by ENERGEX to locate the new double-circuit line on the northern side of Claymore Road, from University Way to the eastern end of Claymore Road. This included the installation of traffic calming devices around each pole structure due to predicted minimal traffic flows on this road. This option minimised the risk to the Sunshine Coast distribution network during construction. Pending the width of alignment separation from the existing single-circuit line on the southern side of Claymore Road, which varied between 11 metres (m) and 6 m, there was a proportionate impact on the southern edge of the adjoining Mooloolah River National Park. Such an impact would necessitate a degree of vegetation clearing within the national park to ensure the safe operation of the powerline. Due to the protected and sensitive nature of this vegetation along this portion of Claymore Road, this option was not preferred, as it would result in unacceptably high impacts to the ecological values associated with vegetation that occurs along the southern boundary of the Mooloolah River National Park.

2.4.2

Meridan Plains East substation to Palmview substation

Consultation with the owner of the land either side of the unmade road reserve between Laxton Road and the Mooloolah River indicated a preference for the Study Corridor to be amended from where it traversed the northern bank of the Mooloolah River to the proposed Palmview substation site. The reason for the suggested amendment was to avoid the alignment constraining the potential for the landowner to develop the land for resource extraction in the future, if the road reserve was to be closed. The amendment involved the alignment being moved from paralleling the existing unformed road reserve that passes through Lot 2 RP 100145, to the eastern side of an existing SEQ Water pipeline easement that runs in a north-westerly direction, across Laxton Road to the northern boundary of Lot 2 RP 100145. This alternative alignment then continued in a northwesterly direction to enter Lot 690 C311023. The alignment then traversed along the northern boundary of Lot 690 to a proposed alternative future Palmview substation site on the north-east corner of the property. The comparative impacts and benefits of this suggested amendment were considered, and concluded that it resulted in comparative similar environmental impacts, however it had a lesser impact with regard to constraining potential future land uses, than the adopted alignment, provided the unmade road reserve could be closed. The issues included avoiding potential future constrains on resource extraction and potentially avoiding any future conflict of a development of a road along the existing unformed road reserve. Due to land acquisition issues, this alternative was not able to be pursued.

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2.4.3

Meridan Plains East substation to Bells Creek North substation

Consultation with Sunshine Coast Regional Council indicated a preference for the alignment south of Honey Farm Road to avoid Lot 7 RP913729, which was recently purchased by Council with the intention to develop the land for a regional sporting facility. Council indicated a preference for the alignment to remain associated with the road reserve and traverse south down Sattler Road (on either side of a widened road reserve) to align with an identified crossing point of Caloundra Road. Council’s proposed future Palmview infrastructure development schedule indicates that there is no need to upgrade or widen Sattler Road reserve until 2021 or later pending the timing of development for the initial 2,500 lots of the Palmview development. As the timing for a connection to the Bells Creek North Substation is required by October 2014, ENERGEX is unable to delay the construction of this section of line to be integrated into a potential future widened road reserve. For ENERGEX to undertake the Council suggestion, the powerline would come within close proximity to residences along Sattler Road, and most probably requiring the resumption of a house and property on the eastern side of the road which ENERGEX would prefer not to do. Although not a preferred alternative, ENERGEX subsequently offered to develop a Memorandum of Understanding with Council for a potential 50/50 cost share arrangement for the longer term ability to relocate the (by then) operational powerline to an alternative agreed alignment along Sattler Road. Such a relocation of the operational 132 kV powerline could only occur once the road corridor was upgraded to its ultimate configuration (not expected before 2021) and an alternative powerline alignment secured within the upgraded road alignment, by Council. Council subsequently suggested that it could possibly advance the acquisition of its widened Sattler and Honey Farm Road reserves ahead of its 2021 schedule and enable ENERGEX to build within the road corridor. Any such alternative alignment would depend on Council securing a widened road reserve and all necessary permits and approvals to enable the construction of the powerline within the widened road reserve and relevant properties. To avoid delaying commissioning of the powerline, Council would have to establish such an alternative alignment and resolve all associated social and environmental issues by the time ENERGEX needed to commence detailed design, scheduled (in this section) for late 2012. Therefore, ENERGEX has confirmed with Council the need to progress with the acquisition of a 40 m wide electrical easement for the full length of the western boundary of Lot 7 RP913729 adjoining Lot 5 RP801895 and Lot 494 SP208091. This easement would then extend across the north-western axe handle to join the powerline alignment from Lot 8 on SP115552. Consultation was conducted with Racing Queensland with regard to the proposed alignment traversing along the western boundary of Lot 200 SP189338, this being adjacent to Racecourse Road between Caloundra Road and Pierce Avenue. As part of this consultation, Racing Queensland proposed the following alternatives:

locating the powerline in the centre of the median of Racecourse Road, between Caloundra Road and Pierce Avenue, being the frontage to the racecourse property installing cable underground between Caloundra Road and Pierce Avenue
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locating the powerline along the western side of Racecourse Road where Crown land exists, so that public infrastructure could be located on public lands utilising the proposed CAMCOS corridor to the east of the Racecourse.

These suggested alternatives were investigated, with the underground suggestion being considered unfeasible due to cost. Locating the powerline on land to the west of Racecourse Road involved impacting on Council owned Meridan Plains Nature Reserve, which due to its conservation tenure was considered as having unacceptably high environmental impact. The option of utilising the CAMCOS corridor to the east of the racecourse was not a viable alternative, as it is located over 5 km to the east of the racecourse and traverses in a south western direction approximately 3 km south of the Bells Creek North substation site. Utilising this corridor to connect to the Bells Creek North substation was a very indirect approach, involving the powerline being significantly longer thus resulting in higher social and environmental impacts, as well as conflicting with a range of existing and proposed land uses. It is relevant to note that ENERGEX’s original concept in connecting into the Bells Creek North substation was to traverse down the centre of the median of Racecourse Road. The installation of street lights in the median strip down Racecourse Road south of Pierce Avenue by the State Government precluded this option in this section of Racecourse Road, without replacing the existing street lighting. ENERGEX has investigated the technical options of placing the new powerline down the central median strip of Racecourse Road between Caloundra Road and Pierce Avenue and are able to accommodate this from both an electrical distribution and construction viewpoint. As a result, ENERGEX has requested information from Council relating to what constraints would the location of the powerline within the median strip of this portion of Racecourse Road place upon Council or the Department of Transport and Main Roads separable plans for any upgrade or road enhancement in the area. The alternative of placing three poles in the centre of Racecourse Road between Caloundra Road and Pierce Avenue is the resultant recommended alignment in this portion of the Study Corridor as it minimises the impact to the Corbould Park Racecourse property whilst not impacting vegetation in the bushland nature reserve to the west of Racecourse Road.

2.4.4

Meridan Plains East substation to Birtinya substation

In July 2011, ENERGEX undertook consultation with Kawana Forest Residents Group. Feedback from this consultation were that due to some residents objecting to the proposed aerial alignment skirting the Meridan sports fields (on Lot 606 SP231205), if this alignment was chosen, then it should be undergrounded (or even in part parallel to the school). The residents group preferred alignment in this area was to place the powerline within a developed east to west road reserve that would facilitate a future connection between Palmview and Sunshine Coast University Hospital, and if such an east to west public transport connection did not proceed, ENERGEX should look at undertaking such an alignment as a standalone infrastructure provider. The option of an alignment that traversed the northern part of the sporting fields adjacent to the school (Pacific Lutheran College) was considered during the area selection process (refer Option 2). Due to the close proximity to residences and the school, an alternative

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option that avoided passing close to these sensitive receptors and traversed around the sports fields was preferred. The option of undergrounding the powerline in this area was assessed as being unsupportable, due to the significantly higher cost and constraints it may place on future infrastructure providers. 2.4.4.1 Potential co-location within future Greenlink corridor

As referred to in Section 1.5.3, ENERGEX is aware of other proposed infrastructure corridors being investigated within the Project Area for public transport purposes that may in future provide the opportunity for a powerline connection into the Birtinya substation to be co-located within this transport corridor, between Reservoirs Avenue and the future South Road at Birtinya. The Sunshine Coast Regional Council was investigating the feasibility of a Greenlink or sustainable transport alternative to the private car between Palmview and Kawana. Subsequent to the issue of the Initial Assessment Report and at its Ordinary Meeting on 22nd February 2012, the Sunshine Coast Council endorsed Option D as the preferred corridor for the Palmview to Kawana Greenlink. Option D utilises Palmview’s planned road network, then runs south in a gazetted road reserve, passing the south of the Ring Tank before connecting into Rainforest Drive. It then follows the route of the Meridan Sports Field access road and links to Kawana Way. Council’s endorsed Option D parallels and reinforces the proposed ENERGEX alignment from the Palmview substation to the intersection of Rainforest Drive and Meridan Way. At Meridan Way, the proposed upgraded powerline follows the existing high voltage single circuit powerline south, along the eastern side of Meridan Way to Kawana Way and the MMTC before turning east and paralleling the future motorway, as previously noted on Section 1.5.3. To provide town planning and engineering certainty for the future electrical infrastructure required to facilitate the Birtinya development, ENERGEX proposes establishing the Final Corridor as presented in Section 1.5.3. ENERGEX continues to pro-actively work with Council on its future proposals. Both ENERGEX and Sunshine Coast Regional Council have agreed to continue working towards a shared outcome to minimise corridor impacts. ENERGEX have confirmed they are were willing to investigate the suitability of surrendering the Final Corridor (once acquired) and relocating to the shared Greenlink alignment, if that corridor was the preferred location for Greenlink, and provided the required corridor and associated approvals were sufficiently established before the detailed design and construction of the powerline connection to Birtinya was required to commence. Of the various corridors investigated by Council for the Greenlink proposal and for the various reasons noted above, only two would appear to be suitable to ENERGEX for co-location. These are: 1. The portion of the option from the northern end of Reservoirs Avenue to Kawana Way that traverses a new corridor to the north of the Kawana Forest Estate, as shown in Figure 2.1. This corridor option is a highly attractive alternative for the ENERGEX 132 kV high voltage powerline. Adoption of this alternative is only feasible if the decision to proceed with this Greenway corridor is made by Sunshine Coast Regional Council by

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early 2015 and agreement is made in Council’s scope of works to allow the doublecircuit powerline to be located within and nominally on the northern side of the corridor. and 2. The portion of the option from the southern end of Reservoirs Avenue, along Rainforest Drive before diverting into Meridan Way to run south of the Meridan Sports Field to Woodlands Boulevard (the Final Corridor).

If the Rainforest Drive Greenlink option was successful, the existing road reserve may need to be widened. Assuming this widening was to be on the northern side, then the existing powerline would need to be relocated. The most probable location for the new powerline would be in a new easement or potentially widened road reserve on the northern side of Rainforest Drive, approximately 20 m north of the existing 132 kV powerline alignment. A similar offset distance would be required on the eastern side of Meridan Way to accommodate any road widening on that side. The potential impacts of relocating the powerline to the northern side of Rainforest Drive and the eastern side of Meridan Way within a new 35 m wide easement were assessed as part of the project scope. Due to perceived difficulties in easement acquisition negotiations, this option was not preferred compared to a rebuilding of the existing single-circuit 132 kV powerline in-situ on effectively the same alignment (but which would inhibit future road widening). This alternative option, although preferred over the Final Corridor, is only possible if the decision to widen Rainforest Drive is made by Sunshine Coast Regional Council before detail design commences (nominally early 2015) and agreement is made in Council’s scope to allow the double-circuit powerline to be located on the northern side of a widened road reserve. In the event that the Palmview to Kawana Greenlink as discussed above does not proceed, the suggestion by the Kawana Residents Group for ENERGEX to look at undertaking such an alignment as a standalone infrastructure provider is unlikely to be supported. During the area selection process an alignment across this area was considered (Option 4). This option included a connection into Birtinya that traversed in an east-west direction north of the Kawana Forest through the Birtinya Wetlands area. After quantitative and qualitative analysis of options, this option was considered the least favourable option. This was largely due to the comparatively higher environmental impacts, including potentially crossing 600 m of ‘endangered’ Regional Ecosystem 12.3.1 (Gallery rainforest–notophyll vine forest), the Birtinya Wetlands and associated habitat, and fragmenting a large intact endangered Regional Ecosystem and essential habitat area associated with the Birtinya Wetlands west of the Birtinya substation site. During preliminary consultation with the Queensland Health regarding the construction of the powerline in an easement on the southern side of South Street (southern end of the proposed Sunshine Coast University Hospital) within Lot 7 SP186336, ENERGEX were asked to utilise a different alignment that avoided being near South Street but in lieu diagonally crossed the water body within Lot 7 SP186336. ENERGEX investigated this alternative and identified that it had a potentially greater environmental impact. The water body is habitat for a range of water and migratory birds. The presence of conductors over the water body would not only compromise the ecological integrity of the value of the habitat, it would introduce an unnecessary risk of bird strike leading to fatalities to birds using the habitat as well as placing the electrical network at greater risk.

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2.5

Underground cables
Underground cables were considered for some sections of the SunSouth Power Project. On consideration of a range of factors, which are discussed below, above ground powerline connections are considered a more practical option than underground cables. This is primarily due to issues relating to the construction and operational cost, environmental and maintenance considerations as well as comparative electromagnetic field strengths above underground cables. Undergrounding of powerlines is more likely to be considered in new urban subdivisions where the cost is paid by the developer (and passed onto the future home owner) or where there is limited space to contain the new infrastructure. Undergrounding of the lower distribution voltage (11 kV or 33 kV) powerlines is much more affordable as they are of a much less technically complex cable type than the higher voltage 132 kV powerlines. ENERGEX is a monopoly utility governed by the Commonwealth economic regulator (the Australian Energy Regulator (AER)) which regulates both business expenditure and the returns allowed to be recovered through electricity tariffs to the consumers. The AER via associated legislation and market rules govern to ensure that utilities such as ENERGEX pursue the most efficient development of its infrastructure. At the high voltages used for distribution lines, the cost of undergrounding a line is generally a multiple of the cost of an equivalent above ground powerline, all other items being equivalent and pending international cost of raw materials and suitable construction labour within Australia. The much higher project cost for such undergrounding would therefore have to be recovered through electricity tariffs passed onto the electricity consumers, if allowed by the AER. Any proposed underground cable route present two possible construction methodologies:

conventional open trenching with the cable typically buried in conduit and the trench backfilled with suitable material where the natural soils are unsuitable under obstacles such as creeks and across highly trafficked roads, directional drilling or under boring is normally required which adds to the typical expense of such projects.

2.5.1

Cables

Underground high voltage electrical cables require specially manufactured cables typically using high quality cross linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulation manufactured under extreme sterile conditions to ensure cables can operate safely at high temperatures. This type of cable utilises an extruded synthetic insulation. The raw material used for the insulation of the high voltage electrical cables comprises low-density polyethylene (LDPE). By virtue of its homopolar character, polyethylene has a low relative permittivity, a very low power loss factor and very high dielectric strength. These high voltage, powerline cables are significantly more expensive to manufacture and join than those used at the lower distribution voltages such as 11 kV and 33 kV. From a whole of life cycle perspective, underground high voltage cable installation requires the use of a greater amount of conductor and consumes significantly more energy and resources during manufacture and construction than an aerial powerline. Underground high voltage powerlines are thus typically greater greenhouse gas producers than their aerial equivalent. For example, a modern overhead 132 kV pole line could be constructed using aluminium 2 conductors with a cross sectional area of around 500 mm whilst an equivalent underground
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cable system would need copper cables with a cross sectional area in excess of 1,100 mm plus associated extruded insulation.

2

Operationally, potential cost savings in electrical transmission loss reduction using underground copper cables is small in comparison to the total cost of installing such high voltage underground cable. Therefore, the potential operational lifetime cost advantages that may be obtained through any electrical transmission efficiency gains in using underground copper cable is insignificant in comparison to the overall financial and environmental cost of the manufacture and installation of underground cables. As such the potential of such efficiency gains is not a material differentiator in selecting between the two high voltage power supply transmission solutions of either overhead or underground.

2.5.2

Cable joints (junctions)

Each high voltage underground electrical circuit comprises three cables, totalling six cables in the ground. Cable drum lengths vary due to cable diameter but are typically about 700 m in length. This length is dictated by the availability of appropriate machinery to handle the weight of the cable drums as well as considering the safety implications of handling. Cable joint locations (junctions) need to be identified based on available constraints considering the length of the available cable. At each junction of each separable circuit, there will be three high voltage cable joints. The jointing of each of the cables can be up to 4 m in length and almost 1 m in diameter, and each of these needs to be offset or staggered. The total area taken up by a series of three joints is a space approximating a typical sea container, waterproofed and buried in the ground. Joints need to be made in absolute sterile conditions minimising potential for moisture and dust to contaminate the jointing material. Pending the need and availability of imported materials, preparation and jointing of high voltage cables may take many days to complete.

2.5.3

Environment considerations

Undergrounding of powerlines is highly disruptive to the environment typically requiring no vegetation with roots longer than 150 mm able to be allowed to exist above the powerline cable and no tall vegetation allowed to remain within the easement of an underground cable that may have roots that could endanger the operation of the line. Noting that the easement width required for this infrastructure type is typically less than the conventional widths required for overhead transmission. Generally no excavation or soil disturbance would be permitted above the underground cable, thus sterilising or significantly restricting any use of the area. In addition, the material used to backfill the trenches is typically a highly processed, non-renewable stabilised fill material. Equally, such underground powerlines are highly susceptible to water intrusion and stream erosion during periods of flooding and any such powerline damage would take a considerable time to repair. In addition, once water entered a cable or cable joint, that portion of the cable may need to be replaced incurring significant downtime when the powerline could not be used. Alternatively, the aerial powerline enables the retention of lower growing vegetation, enabling environmental connectivity across the easement in sensitive habitat areas and are much more resilient to flood events.
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2.5.4

Road maintenance and upgrade

Where insufficient space is available to construct high voltage powerlines above ground, there is a preference to place underground high voltage powerlines within existing developed and sealed road formations. However, such placement also places limitations on potential future development or upgrading of the road where such development may cause differential settlement to occur around the powerline. Differential settlement caused to the powerline especially during earthworks compaction of the road material could stretch the cable causing a failure in the protective insulation.

2.5.5

Operational maintenance

From a maintenance perspective, damage to above ground powerlines is readily identifiable and able to be quickly returned to service should it be damaged in a major storm event such as Cyclone Larry, in North Queensland. This is not necessarily the case for an underground powerline, which may take some time to identify the location of the fault. In the instance of Cyclone Larry, new high voltage structures were installed and power returned to Far North Queensland within a few days of suffering significant and widespread damage to the high voltage electrical network because of this Category 5 cyclone. To facilitate the potential undergrounding of the distribution line a transition structure is required at either end, where the distribution line enters and then exists the ground. At this location the above ground to below ground transition occurs. Transitions structures can have issues with fault occurrence at transitions from underground to aerial sections of the network, which creates increased risk to the network, and reduced reliability.

2.5.6

Electromagnetic fields

As explained in detail in the EMF assessment in Appendix L, and summarized in Section 7.17, modelling undertaken of a single-circuit underground 132 kV cable located adjacent to an existing single-circuit above ground 132 kV powerline under the ultimate loadings, indicate that localised magnetic fields directly above the underground cables are predicted to reach up to 100 mG at a point 1 m above the ground. Whereas a double-circuit above ground powerline operating under the same loadings are predicted to have magnetic fields directly under the line of around 30 mG because of the greater separation distance between the conductor and a point 1 m above the ground.

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