Switchgear damage delays VDP re-energisation

Victorian Desalination Plant operator AquaSure has confirmed that work is underway to repair a switchgear that was damaged during re-energisation of the plant.

The VDP, which has been in standby mode since completion in 2012, is being re-energised to fulfil its first water order of 50 gigalitres by end of June 2017.

AquaSure chief executive Matt Brassington said that the incident with the gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) was “unusual”, and that “the desalination plant itself has not been damaged”.

The GIS is a self-contained terminal station that steps down high voltage electricity (220KV) to a lower voltage (22KV), which is then used to power the various components that make up the VDP.

Re-energisation of the power cable supplying the plant occurred in three stages: Sections one and two were re-energised in December, and the GIS was damaged in an incident that occurred during re-energisation of the third section.

“A preliminary assessment indicates that the incident is not linked to the underground power cable. Further detailed investigations are taking place to establish the cause of the incident. The GIS is renowned as being a highly reliable, safe, low maintenance piece of infrastructure, so this incident is unusual,” said Brassington.

“The plant will not operate until the repair works are completed. Our team is working as quickly as possible to repair the switchgear, to enable the plant to commence operation and fulfil the order,” he said.

Victoria’s minister for water Lisa Neville said in a statement: “I have made clear to Aquasure that the government expects 50 gigalitres of desalinated water to be delivered by 30 June 2017, in keeping with its contract with the government. In addition to my discussions with Aquasure, I have also met with electricity provider, AusNet Services. It was agreed that all parties would work together to resolve the issues as quickly as possible.”

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