Energy infrastructure causes quite a stir

A massive transformer is causing quite a stir on the roads of Victoria and New South Wales.

Unlike the mega-popular toys, real transformers can’t adapt themselves neatly into a handy form of transport.

It takes monster trucks and a logistical miracle to deliver modern electricity transformers, such as the journey now under way as a high voltage 350 MVA transformer makes its way from Victoria to Lake Munmorah on New South Wales’ central coast.

The 477 tonne “superload” – that’s equivalent to two blue whales with a calf in tow – will play a key role in the Waratah Super Battery which is expected to be one of the largest and most powerful battery energy storage systems (BESS) in the world.

The project is being constructed at the former Munmorah coal-fired power station at Colongra, and is key to the NSW Government’s plan to ensure electricity supply in the state as coal-fired power stations close.

Akaysha Energy is delivering the $1 billion project.

Did someone say road trip?” the company said in an online post.

“A transport combination measuring approximately 125m long and around 6m wide, carrying one of three high voltage 350 MVA transformers, has departed from Wilson Transformer Company Victoria and is on its way up the Hume Hwy.”

The transformer is expected to reach Lake Munmorah on Monday (February 5), and has attracted attention along the route.

What even is the grid?

“It’s exciting to see one of the largest BESS high voltage transformers begin its journey to Waratah and to also witness the community excitement with people lining the streets to catch a glimpse of this important piece of energy infrastructure,” Akaysha Energy CEO Nick Carter said.

The transformer is travelling via Albury/Wodonga, Gundagai, Goulbourn, Campbelltown and Mooney Mooney.

Two other high voltage transformers will follow.

The Waratah Super Battery is approved to be 850MW with an energy storage capacity of 1680 MWh.

It will cover 16.65 hectares with 2600 containerised lithium-ion type batteries up to 3.3m high along with a 330kV switchyard and a 650m long transmission line connecting it to the Munmorah substation.

Construction began in June 2023.

The battery will operate as part of a System Integrity Protection Scheme that increases transmission capacity to the existing network.

The Greenlight Project is a year-long look at how regional Australia is preparing for and adapting to climate change.

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