Adelaide City West Project
Powering our city
Electricity is the lifeblood of our economy.
The continuing growth and ongoing importance of the Adelaide Central Business District (CBD) as a centre of economic growth requires a robust and secure electricity supply.
SA Power Networks (SA's electricity distribution company) and ElectraNet (the transmission operator supplying SA Power Networks) worked together in 2011 and 2012 on a $300 million project to power the CBD well into this century.
What is the City West Project?
The City West project had two major components:
- ElectraNet's construction of a new transmission supply line for the CBD; and
- SA Power Networks' construction of distribution links to make this new power available to the CBD and the southern suburbs of Adelaide.
ElectraNet constructed a new 275,000 volt (275kV) transmission line that links the Torrens Island Power Station to a new substation at Keswick. Find out more about ElectraNet's work.
SA Power Networks built a new 66,000 Volt (66kV) distribution lines to link the new ElectraNet transmission supply to the City.
Additionally, SA Power Networks provided improved security of power supply to Adelaide's southern suburbs by linking the new City West substation to our existing substation at Keswick.
Why did we need it and what are the benefits?
There were three main drivers for the project.
First, the CBD was previously reliant on just one transmission source for the CBD via the East Terrace substation (augmented by SA Power Networks' distribution network). This made our supplies vulnerable should there be a failure with transmission infrastructure.
Second, the CBD continues to grow in importance as a centre for business, education, culture and urban living and electricity demand has almost reached the existing capacity of the distribution network.
Third, electricity demand in Adelaide's southern suburbs is growing and this is expected to continue into the future. The provision of a second major supply point provides enhanced security of supply and ensures people living and working in Adelaide's south have access to all the power they need to support their long term growth.
The City West Project addressed these issues and means our customers can:
- rely on a secure power supply with robust transmission-level back up if needed; and
- be confident there will be sufficient capacity in the network to meet current demand and future growth over the next 30 years.
How will SA Power Networks connect the new supply to the CBD?
The preferred route for the new power cables, which will run underground from Keswick to the CBD, is currently being developed in consultation with Adelaide City Council and rail authorities.
The preferred option, which has the least environment, traffic and noise impacts is to align underground cables with the services corridor created by the construction of the SA Water Glenelg to Adelaide Park Lands Recycled Water Project.
All cables will be underground. They are proposed to run east from the new ElectraNet substation at Keswick beneath the Keswick rail yards and Anzac Highway to join the services corridor in the Park Lands. The cables will then follow the Glenelg to Adelaide Park Lands pipeline route north-east to the South Terrace-Morphett Street intersection.
The cables will then run north underneath Morphett Street, along the eastern side of Whitmore Square and into the Whitmore Square substation, which is currently being upgraded to cope with the additional load.
This route has been chosen after careful consideration and the input of the Adelaide City Council.
It's a big job
The SA Power Networks component will involve construction of six 66kV lines – all underground - into the CBD along a route of about two kilometres in length.
There are a number of limitations regarding how we lay these very thick cables. For example, they are so thick and solid they need to be laid straight or with gentle curving bends.
The placement of the cables, the depth of trenches and the type of soil used to backfill them is crucial to dissipate heat, and ensure the cables are able to operate at their maximum efficiency and electricity-carrying capacity.
How will construction be managed?
As an experienced builder of critical infrastructure, SA Power Networks is well aware of the need to manage potential disruptions to businesses, residents and traffic from major construction works.
We will be working closely with our contractors and meeting regularly with Adelaide City Council to minimise the impact of the project. This includes agreeing a preferred route, which provides the best outcomes in terms of minimising environmental, traffic and noise impact.
We have engaged traffic management specialists who will work closely with Adelaide City Council and will be scheduling our work to minimise and manage traffic and noise impacts.
We are committed to providing clear and accessible information to anyone with an interest in the project. Local residents and businesses along the cable route will be visited by our customer relations team and can expect timely information about the progress and likely impact of works. Construction updates will be uploaded regularly and our team is available to meet with residents, businesses, parklands users or other interested people/organisations to discuss the project.