Major projects

The Territory is growing and Power and Water needs to match demand from the growing residential, business and industrial community with reliable power, water and sewerage services.

We live and work in a tough environment with extremes in weather. It is an ongoing challenge to get services ‘on the ground’ where they are required and to meet current and future demand. Major refurbishment, replacement and upgrades as part of the current infrastructure investment program are outlined below.

Electricity distribution

  • Replacement of three 132kV circuit breakers at the Hudson Creek Switchyard is taking place in the 2014 dry season. Demand on the power system is at its lowest in July and August, making it the optimal time to de-energise the transmission line to perform these works with minimal risk of power interruptions. Replacement works will begin week commencing Monday 21 July and are expected to be complete by September, when the demand on the power system will begin to increase as the wet season approaches. The replacement works are designed to improve the reliability of the network and increase operational flexibility.
  • Construction of Leanyer Zone Substation in Darwin’s northern suburbs is underway. Building and civil works are complete and installation of electrical equipment commenced in early 2014. The substation is expected to be completed in late 2014.
  • The Frances Bay Zone Substation is in the second stage of development. A second 66kV circuit will supply the zone substation. A second power transformer and 11kV switch board extension are being installed along with 66kV GIS. This is due for completion in the first half of 2014. The substation has been designed for increased capacity and will ultimately accommodate three incoming 66kV circuits, three zone transformers plus associated 66kV GIS and 11kV switchgear. This is stage three of the project which is expected to be completed in 10 to 15 years.
  • Construction of the new Darwin Zone Substation is well underway and will replace the City Zone Substation. This indoor substation with 66kV GIS will be completed in the latter half of 2014. Darwin and Frances Bay zone substations provide the main electricity supply for the Darwin CBD.
  • The new Woolner Zone Substation is now fully commissioned. It replaces the Snell Street Zone Substation in Darwin. The Woolner Zone Substation introduces 66kV Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS) into the power networks system. The 66kV GIS is proven technology that addresses the Northern Territory’s harsh local environmental conditions. The equipment is fully enclosed indoors as opposed to the traditional outdoor switchyard. Woolner Zone Substation provides electricity to Winnellie, Ludmilla, Stuart Park and Parap as well as support to the City, Berrimah and Casuarina zone substations.
  • The Archer Zone Substation project is complete and supplying electricity in Palmerston and the new suburbs of Mitchell, Johnson and Zuccoli while also providing some support to East Arm Port area. During construction a second 66 000 volt transmission line was installed to provide a future secure supply route from the new Weddell Power Station to the greater Darwin region.
  • Upgrade works to McMinns, Weddell and Palmerston zone substations together with additional distribution feeders are either complete or well underway. They will provide power supply to the Inpex accommodation village at Howard Springs and construction power supply for the Inpex gas plant site at Blaydin Point.
  • Installation of a new 22kV switchboard for Manton, Acacia and surrounds, approximately 65km south of Darwin, is complete. The 22kV Siemens switchgear is housed in a cyclone coded modular building that was assembled and installed in Darwin before being transported to site.
  • Over the next five years the rural zone substations at McMinns and Humpty Doo, will be rebuilt. Detailed design work is in progress for the new Strangways Zone Substation that will replace McMinns Zone Substation. Construction is scheduled to commence in January 2014.
  • The Undergrounding Power Project has connected properties in Nightcliff, Rapid Creek and Millner to an underground power supply.

Electricity generation*

  • Owen Springs Power Station is situated 25km south of Alice Springs and has been designed to meet the town's power needs for the next 50 years. Three new gas engines have been installed and commissioned. High voltage transmission lines have been installed to connect the power station to the Lovegrove Zone Substation, which has been upgraded.
  • Weddell Power Station - In 2008-2009 two 43MW gas generating units were added at Weddell to the Darwin-Katherine electricity grid. When the third set is fully commissioned all three highly efficient machines will operate solely on natural gas, ensuring that Weddell emits far less greenhouse gases than other comparable power stations. When complete they will add about 25 per cent to the generation capacity on the Darwin-Katherine power system.
  • Rolls Royce turbines for Channel Island Power Station - Two 45MW units are installed and commissioned at Channel Island Power Station, the largest electricity source for Darwin and Katherine, to increase capacity and allow refurbishment of the older units at the site.
* These projects are now managed by Territory Generation.

Water supply

  • Vegetation Management Program - Water mains are vulnerable to damage from vegetation growing near, over or under above ground pipelines. Root invasion, tree trunks rubbing on pipe surfaces and large debris falling on water mains cause breakage, rusting and splitting requiring expensive and time consuming repairs. The vegetation management program is undertaken on a regular basis to protect the major water mains that deliver Darwin's bulk water supply.
  • Darwin CBD water supply enhancement - Darwin's central business district is growing rapidly and new water mains are needed to meet demand. Power and Water has installed 1.2km of pipe along the south side of the Esplanade and Daly Street, and 2km of mains has been installed along Dinah Beach Road, Duke Street, Burt Street, Day Street and McMinn Street. This project will ensure continuing water supply to the CBD, Stuart Park and surrounds.
  • Raising the full supply level of Darwin River Dam - The full supply level of Darwin River Dam has been increased by 20 per cent with the raising of the dam spillway by 1.3 metres. This work has increased the capacity of the reservoir, which supplies Darwin, Palmerston and surrounding rural areas. The project was finalised with works on the intake tower in 2011.
  • Manton Dam water quality sampling project is ongoing. The project involves the release of water from the dam to the Manton River, and a program of water quality and environmental monitoring. The project will assist Power and Water in its understanding of the behaviour of the reservoir and the variability of water quality.
  • Alice Water Smart - A project designed to preserve Alice Springs’ finite groundwater source and secure the long term sustainability of the town. The aim is to reduce water consumption by Alice Springs’ residents by 1600 million litres per year, equivalent to two months average water supply. The Alice Water Smart Plan included home and business water audits, an expanded rebate scheme, smart irrigation for parks and ovals, improved water management and increased recycling and installation of smart meters to allow homes and businesses to monitor water use.
  • Palmerston South Elevated Water Tank - As part of the ongoing strategy to secure the water supply for the growing population of the City of Palmerston and adjoining rural areas, a new elevated water storage tank will be built. The new elevated water storage will provide supply to the eastern suburbs of Zuccoli, Johnston, Bellamack and Palmerston South as well as potential interim supply to areas of Howard Springs.
    Construction is expected to start late 2014.
  • Barneson and Carey Street sewer main enhancement - Power and Water is constructing a new sewer main along Barneson, McMinn and Carey Streets to increase capacity of the Darwin CBD sewer network and allow for future growth. This project will provide improved waste disposal solutions in line with City of Darwin’s master plan for the Darwin CBD. These works are expected to be completed by early 2015.

Sewerage services

  • Larrakeyah Outfall Closure Plan - Larrakeyah outfall is now closed. Read the article for more information. Work to upgrade Ludmilla Wastewater Treatment Plant and plans to extend East Point Outfall continue. A broader program of upgrades to wastewater treatment facilities in the Darwin area continues.
  • Water Reuse in the Alice Project - The Alice Springs Water Reclamation Plant, which has won a national Engineers Australia Award, was opened in May 2008 and can recycle up to 600 megalitres of water a year - a valuable resource in the desert town.