Power: Sapphire Wind Farm Transmission Line and Substation
Inverell, New South Wales
January 2017 - December 2017
Contract Type:
Construct Only
Power: Sapphire Wind Farm

Zinfra was engaged by TransGrid to construct a 330/33kV substation and carry out associated 330kV line works to connect the new wind farm to TransGrid’s existing 330kV 8E SA Armidale-Dumaresq transmission line.

The scope of the works included limited design, balance of procurement, bulk earthworks, detailed civil works, electrical works, testing, commissioning and training of staff.

As the largest wind farm in New South Wales, the 270MW Sapphire Wind Farm will provide enough clean energy to power around 115,000 homes. Connecting renewable projects to the grid is a complex yet crucial process that requires specialist network and electrical knowledge. Zinfra is one of the contractors that has helped bring this large-scale renewable energy project to life, using its experience in the power sector to facilitate grid connection, while pulling out all the stops to help meet tight targets.


Exceptional results delivered within a challenging environment

The greatest highlight of this project was that it was delivered within a 10 month construction timeframe that included over a month of inclement weather experienced during the bulk earthworks phase.

The main challenge Zinfra faced was the successful delivery of a quality build within a constrained program, which required meticulous planning, monitoring and support to ensure resources, plant and deliveries were organised to avoid disruption to the program.

A prime example of this planning was apparent through innovative scheduling. For example, specific civil works such as the construction of the cable trenches and areas for foundations for primary plant were targeted. This allowed the team to install the multicores and terminate them in the circuit breakers, current transformers etc prior to the cable trenches being completed.

Furthermore, during the peak of the electrical works, additional resources were mobilised from Zinfra’s New South Wales and Queensland Power Divisions, and divided into three crews on rotating rosters to ensure continuity of works. Consequently, this approach had its own challenges including an increased number of personnel (up to 70 persons on-site during peak construction) and work activities exposed to plant interactions.

These challenges were well managed by Zinfra, who maintained effective communication amongst all site staff, established clear interfaces and protocols, and strategically allocated tasks to minimise interaction.

Collaboration - key to delivering high standards of safety and quality

A collaborative partnership between Zinfra, TransGrid and the client was established early on in the project to ensure project outcomes. This collaborative approach was fed down the project structure to site level, resulting in communication between TransGrid and Zinfra being very well regarded.

Effective communication and a collaborative relationship was also established with the head client and balance of plant contractor for the wind farm through regular interface meetings, which both Zinfra and TransGrid representatives attended.

Throughout the project, the safety of all personnel was held paramount. In particular, during the construction phase, a safety culture was fostered by the site management team with the appointment of a full time Safety Advisor. Also, a key focus was placed on fatigue management due to the remote location of the site and working hours.

A high standard of quality was enforced throughout the entire project. This was promoted by Zinfra’s experienced Civil and Electrical Inspectors and supported by the comprehensive, tailor-made suite of inspection and test plans (ITPs)/inspection and check sheets (ITCs) developed in-house specifically for the project.

Zinfra was granted possession of site in January 2017. Practical completion was awarded on 1 December 2017, with the project completed on schedule and on budget, well in advance of the energisation of the wind farm’s collector cables.

The success of this project is another clear illustration of Zinfra’s expertise and capability to continue to deliver high-quality EHV substation and transmission line jobs on time, whilst fostering