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Enerven completes Stage One and Two for the Bungala solar project

In March 2017, Enerven started work on one of the biggest solar projects in the Southern Hemisphere, Bungala.

“The Bungala solar farm represents the first large-scale solar farm constructed in South Australia,” said Scott Norton, Delivery Project Manager. “When complete, Bungala Stage One and Two will provide 220MW from 840,000 panels and cover 800 hectares of land – the equivalent of nearly 800 rugby fields. There is provision for a third stage to the project, which would increase the solar farm capacity to 300MW.”

By comparison, the previous largest solar farms built in SA were only 4.9MW in Peterborough and 6.6MW in Whyalla. When fully operational, the solar farm will generate around 570GWh per year of power, which is enough to power 82,000 households and will save 502,000 tonnes of CO2 hitting our atmosphere.

With South Australia’s focus on renewable energy and abundance of solar resource, it is no coincidence that developers are flocking to the state to build new solar farms. The Bungala project is located 13km North East of Port Augusta and connects to ElectraNet’s high voltage transmission network via a dedicated 132kV line between Davenport substation and the new Emeroo substation.

Enerven’s involvement in the Bungala Solar farm project comprised the design and construct of all the high voltage electrical infrastructure, which essentially connects the solar farm to the grid.

“The complexity faced on this project was that the timeline and budget were extremely tight for what needed to be achieved,” Scott said. “When planning the project, it was understood that there was no built-in contingency; the project had to run strictly to schedule, or it would not succeed.”

Stage One of the project included the augmentation works at ElectraNet’s Davenport substation, which comprised the design and build of a new bay at Davenport substation. There was then 13km of 132kV overhead lines constructed, which posed various complexities, especially as there was a requirement to run lines across the main highway into Port Augusta.

Given the time restrictions on this project, the team also had to adapt their stringing method to meet the strict timeline. The poles were double-stringed with lighter cable, as this meant this portion of the project could be completed much faster than the usual single-string method.

“As part of Stage One we also built a dedicated 132kV to 33kV onsite substation, the Emeroo substation, which is the connection point for the solar farm,” said Daniel Snodgrass, Substation Engineer. “Stage Two of the project on the solar farm side of the fence, was essentially doubling what had been built for Stage One (ie 420,000 panels and 110MW, became 820,000 and 220MW). Enerven had already made provisions at Emeroo substation for Stage Two, and the scope was to install another transformer and complete augmentation work to allow capacity for the additional 110MW solar farm.”

Glen Klinberg at Bungala

Site Manager Glen Klinberg enjoying the view

Scott Norton went on to say that: “The project was delivered under an extremely tight timeframe and in a very difficult environment, meaning staffing levels and procurement were extremely challenging, but the ability to overcome these challenges highlighted the strength and resolve of the Enerven team.

“The timeframes are some of the tightest achieved given the project budget, meaning a huge amount of effort was required from the project managers and some innovative strategies developed in the delivery in order to achieve the deadline,” said Scott. “Further to this, the conditions at Port Augusta can be extreme, especially in summer. The team were often working in high temperatures and caught in dust storms, which just added to the pressure on this project.”

 Dust storm at Bungala

Dust storm at Emeroo Substation

Enerven utilised a combination of internal resources and subcontractors to deliver the project, with the successful commissioning of the project in July this year. Enerven’s core capabilities in design, procurement, logistics, project management as well as safety, quality and environment were leveraged, which was supplemented by key alliance partners.

Richard Amato, GM Enerven, said that Enerven enjoys the opportunity to work with its key customers to ensure the success of their projects and deliver shared results. “This project represented a strong demonstration of working collaboratively under a short timeframe to ensure the project’s success. Well done to everyone involved for going above and beyond to ensure another successful project for Enerven,” said Richard.