Electricity distributor Powercor has completed a $900,000 upgrade to the power network on the Bellarine Peninsula to improve reliability and manage peak demand during the region’s summer season boom.
During summer, the population in the local area can often double, creating significant demand on the local power infrastructure.
To manage this, Powercor crews have installed a new 22KV cable, also known as a feeder tie, which transfers power through underground and overhead cables, along the electricity network from Armstrong Creek to Barwon Heads.
Daniel Garvey, Head of Network Planning and Development at Powercor, said the upgrades would provide extra power capacity to local towns which is particularly necessary during the peak summer season.
“Victorians flock to the coast during the summer and the surge in population, combined with the use of appliances such as air conditioning units to help people keep cool, means that demand on the local network increases dramatically,” Mr Garvey said.
“The Bellarine upgrades will play an important part in making sure we’re prepared for periods of intense demand and keeping the lights on for visitors and residents.”
The new line links with high voltage feeders from Waurn Ponds, Geelong East and Drysdale to enable peak loads on the network to be balanced. It will also be used in the future to facilitate the Torquay Zone substation, which is planned for construction in 2022-23 and will further support the reliability of electricity supplies in the region.
During the 2018-2019 summer, Powercor implemented the successful Energy Partner program in the Bellarine to reduce energy demand on the local network on hot summer days.
While more than 1,000 residents participated in Energy Partner, saving enough electricity to power more than 200 homes, this initiative was not a long term solution to support demand growth.
Mr Garvey said that by curbing demand during peak periods last summer, the network upgrades were simply deferred.
Residents who choose to again reduce their energy use during peak demand will still generate benefits for their household costs and the environment.
“The feedback we’ve received from Energy Partner was that turning up air conditioners by a few degrees was an easy way to both stay comfortable in the heat and reduce power costs and carbon emissions,” Mr Garvey said.
During 2019-2020 summer, Energy Partner will be offered to residents in areas in the Powercor network which require demand management support.
In the Greater Geelong region, teams based in depots in Geelong and Colac operate and maintain 48,822 poles, 1,818 powerlines and 4,120 distribution transformers that deliver power to more than 122,490 Powercor customers.