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Transgrid’s EnergyConnect infrastructure project will see a range of innovative, sustainability initiatives to reach a 20 per cent reduction on its carbon footprint as it undergoes pre-construction work.

Transgrid’s construction delivery partner SecureEnergy has set numerous sustainability targets for the once-in-a-generation, 700km project, under a rating agreement with the Infrastructure Sustainability Council, the peak body for infrastructure sustainability in Australia and New Zealand.

Executive General Manager of Major Projects, Gordon Taylor, said the agreement represents a genuine commitment to deliver real sustainability outcomes for EnergyConnect. 

“The rating means all achievements will be independently measured to clearly and fairly demonstrate the project’s performance,” Mr Taylor said. 

“When it is finished, the new interconnector will contribute to the decarbonisation of our economy by enabling the integration of clean, renewable generation but it is critical that our sustainability efforts begin now, during the design and construction phases.”

Pre-construction activity works are underway on Transgrid’s 700km New South Wales section of the 900km EnergyConnect project, which will be built from the South Australian border to the regional energy hub of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.

The agreement between SecureEnergy and the Infrastructure Sustainability Council means the project will be assessed under the Council’s infrastructure sustainability rating scheme. This allows for sustainability to be independently evaluated across the planning, design, construction, and operational phases of the project.

SecureEnergy Project Director, David Whatmough, said the agreement was particularly focused on applying innovative solutions to “reducing the whole-of-life carbon footprint, minimising the use of energy, water, and materials, reducing waste and ensuring resilience against forecast climate impacts”. 

Some of the best-practice initiatives include:

  • Reducing the project’s carbon footprint by 20 per cent through optimised tower design
  • Working with the supply chain to minimise unnecessary packaging and maximise recyclability and reusability of packaging
  • Diverting a minimum of 50 per cent of construction waste from landfill
  • Conserving and beneficially reusing 80 per cent of spoil
  • Maximising opportunities to use renewable sources of energy for construction
  • Integrating sustainability when procuring products and services, with an emphasis on environmental attributes as well as other social and ethical criteria as appropriate
  • Using recycled grey water from camps and using polymer additives for dust suppression to reduce potable water use
  • Designing and locating transmission line structures to avoid sensitive biodiversity and culturally sensitive sites (such as scarred trees) and reduce requirement for vegetation clearing

Main works have begun on the western alignment of EnergyConnect, with construction of the camps and laydown areas expected to begin in the final quarter of 2022. The construction of the eastern alignment, (Buronga to Wagga Wagga) is due to commence in 2023.

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