The powerlines have gone underground to keep the lights on at Queensland’s Whitsunday islands.
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.
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said tourism operators made a significant contribution to the region’s economy and it was important to help them get back on their feet after a natural disaster.
Ergon Energy has led the $4.85 million project, which has connected three underground feeders to the submarine cables which 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,” he 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.”
The project was also delivered within a tight timeframe. Construction 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.
Source: QLD Government Media Release.