Affordable Energy Plan

Capital works budget for electricity network

2 May 2019 –

The following is an extract from my speech, delivered on Wednesday 1 May, 2019.

Queensland’s publicly owned electricity assets are investing billions of dollars in new and improved capital works, supporting thousands of jobs from the Far North to the southern Gold Coast. I am pleased to announce a $28 million project to upgrade the substation that powers Mackay’s central business district. This important project will improve the reliability of the electricity supply for more than 4,600 existing customers, including operators in the tourism, entertainment and business precinct.

The Mackay Regional Council has identified the city’s riverfront as a priority development area and this project will support economic growth by delivering an affordable, secure, sustainable and safe electricity supply now and into the future. For new and existing businesses in Mackay, that means help to grow and create jobs into the future. The project itself will not only support the almost 200 Ergon jobs
locally but will mean work for construction contractors locally.

This investment is just part of more than $1.5 billion in the current budget allocated to Energy Queensland’s capital works. This is for projects ranging from the recently upgraded Palm Beach substation to replacement generators in Aurukun. Together they will support the more than 7,300 jobs across Energy Queensland, including Energex and Ergon crew members, in construction and maintenance work. These crews are also the same people who are always there for our communities across the state during times of disaster. If I may, here is a big shout-out to all of the Ergon and Energex workers involved in the post-flood recovery in and around Townsville and the north-west.

Additionally, our publicly owned transmission company, Powerlink, has $232.7 million allocated for capital works in 2018-19. This infrastructure investment will support more than 400 jobs. One of the latest of these projects to be completed is the $12 million project to replace secondary systems at the Tully substation. The four-year project has supported up to 28 jobs. Secondary systems are the control, protection and communications equipment that operate the transmission network and prevent damage to physical plant in the substation such as transformers. Replacing secondary systems is a cost-effective investment, because new secondary systems prolong the life of the substation and avoid
or delay the need for new infrastructure.

A significant proportion of Powerlink’s annual capital works is now in connecting new renewable energy projects to the grid, increasing supply and helping Queensland reach its target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030. Those important projects include new substations for the Coopers Gap wind farm near Kingaroy, the Mount Emerald wind farm near Cairns and the Whitsunday and Hamilton solar farms in North Queensland near Collinsville. This is our publicly owned electricity assets at work—assets that belong to the people of Queensland, reinvesting in jobs and economic growth for the people of Queensland.

View the archived broadcast of this speech.