Progress on Western Power’s $443 million Mid West energy project is continuing after infrastructure group Downer was awarded a $175 million contract to construct a new transmission line to upgrade the grid.
Downer will construct 190 kilometres of steel lattice towers, which will carry 330 kilovolts (kV) to the Mid West, and oversee the design and trial of the towers and pole structures for use on the new line.
Downer will also carry out the demolition and destruction of 190km of the old 132kV wooden pole transmission lines.
More than 2,900km of power lines and 388 towers will be installed over the life of the energy project.
Energy Minister Mike Nahan said Western Power had begun the installation phase of the project, which he said was vital to the state’s future energy supply.
“The Mid West energy project is one of the most important infrastructure projects in the state, powering growth in the region,” Mr Nahan said.
The 190km line will run between Pinjar, north of Perth, and Eneabba in the Mid West.
The project is expected to be completed by the middle of 2014.
It aims to increase capacity and extend supply in the Mid West to support the growth of mining sites and infrastructure in the region.
The future of stage two of the project, which planned to extend the 330kV line a further 160km north to Geraldton and support the operation of the Oakajee port, remains in the planning stages after the Oakajee project was delayed indefinitely.
Downer chief executive Grant Fenn said the company was pleased to be involved in the major energy expansion project.
“Downer has worked with Western Power for a number of years and we are pleased to be delivering this critical piece of infrastructure for the people and businesses of Western Australia,” Mr Fenn said.
The Karara iron ore project, a joint venture between Gindalbie Metals and Chinese steelmaker Ansteel, has built the electricity line between Three Springs and Eneabba.
The section of the line connects to the Karara iron ore project through the Karara-Three Springs line, which was also built by the joint venture.
On completion of the Mid West energy project, the state government will buy the Three Springs-Eneabba line for $80 million, which will be a reimbursement of cost.
Western Power has also pressed ahead with the connection of Australia’s largest solar energy farm, the Greenough River solar farm, to the electricity network.
The solar farm is located 50km south-east of Geraldton and will have the capacity to export 10 megawatts of electricity.
The project has the capacity to be expanded to 40 megawatts and has been connected by Western Power to the nearby Mungarra substation