Powerlink has employed the use of drone technology to string transmission lines between the tallest towers on its statewide network to connect Neoen’s Kaban Green Power Hub to the grid.

The Kaban Green Power Hub Project is the cornerstone project of the Northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (QREZ), which is set to unlock 500MW of renewables capacity as the first of its kind in the state.

Powerlink Chief Executive, Paul Simshauser, said using the drone to string the new 85m-tall transmission towers was a first for Powerlink and highlighted the diverse skills of its workforce.

“Our highly skilled drone pilots were able to safely fly the insulating rope over four existing energised transmission line wires, known as ‘conductors’, that are the critical backbone of Far North Queensland’s electricity supply,” Mr Simshauser said.

“Our lines team was then able to safely pull the conductor through and install it over the existing ‘live’ wires.

“This meticulous process highlights the complexity of the job, not only from a safety perspective, but in ensuring a safe and reliable source of power remained uninterrupted to far North Queensland during the works.

“Typically helicopters are used for stringing. We made the decision to use the drones for the first time as we only needed to string 100m of line in a technically constrained environment.”

Neoen Managing Director, Louis de Sambucy, said the team congratulated Powerlink for completing the line stringing work for the Kaban project.

“We’d like to thank the Powerlink team for delivering this critical component and for their continued commitment to the project,” Mr de Sambucy said.

“Kaban will bring much needed additional clean energy to the network, with first generation targeted ahead of next summer.”

CleanCo has a capacity purchase agreement to offtake 100 per cent of the energy from the hub and CEO Tom Metcalfe said it was exciting to see the project nearing completion.

“Kaban is a critical part of our growing renewable portfolio, supporting our commercial and industrial customers to meet their decarbonisation goals,” Mr Metcalfe said.

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