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First underground power infrastructure laid at Victoria Desalination Plant

The first of 87km of underground power cable has been laid at the Victoria Desalination Plant in Victoria, Australia.

The cable, manufactured by Victorian-based cable manufacturer Olex, will supply power to the plant. It will run alongside a 83km-long pipeline which will transfer desalinated water to Melbourne’s water storages.

Conduit for the power cable is laid in a trench with thermal backfill and the power cable is pulled through in 1.2km lengths.

Last week state premier John Brumby and state water minister Tim Holding visited Caldermeade to inspect works on the underground power supply and Wonthaggi to inspect progress at the desalination plant site.

Brumby said with works now underway on the pipeline, underground power cable, and at the desalination plant site, there were now more than 2000 people working on the project.

“The desalination plant, which will provide up to 150bn litres of water from the end of 2011 regardless of rainfall, is Victoria’s insurance policy against future droughts and climate change,” he said.

“We have listened to the local community and chosen underground power instead of overhead power lines as it will have the least impact on landowners, farmers and local people living and working in the area.

“We have also committed to fully offset the power required to operate the plant and pipeline through the purchase of renewable energy,” he added.

Considerable progress has been made at the plant since construction commenced last September. Earthworks are now more than 90% complete, with 1.3M.m3 of earth excavated. In addition, 266t of structural steel has been erected for the building which will house the desalination technology, 13km of pipe has been laid and over two thirds of the 84km easement has been cleared and prepared for work.

Tunnelling for the intake and outlet pipes out to sea is due to start this summer.

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