USQ students to see inside new substation

Published: 28 Jul 2015 10:49am

USQ engineering students will be among almost 100 people to get a rare opportunity to inspect the inner workings of an electricity substation today as Ergon Energy's new Toowoomba Central substation nears completion.

Ergon's Regional Asset Manager Dave Shephard said the visit would give students a chance to see first-hand how substation components, including transformers, circuit-breakers, switching gear, capacitors, voltage regulators and communications equipment, fit together in a working environment.

"This will allow the students to see how electricity coming into the substation at 110kV is transformed down to 11kV and then distributed via eight feeder lines to supply power to the Toowoomba CBD," he said.

"For safety reasons, we can only bring the students on to the substation site and let them get close to this equipment until the first of the feeder lines is energised, which is due to occur next month."

USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas said site visits such as this were part of the University's emphasis on the value of work-integrated learning during study.

"Classrooms and textbooks are important, and industry placements serve to provide an even greater knowledge and understanding of a student's chosen career path," she said.

Head of School (Mechanical and Electrical Engineering) Associate Professor Tony Ahfock said the visit would help students get a practical understanding of the material they were studying.

"We appreciate this excellent opportunity to give students additional insight into the industry in a real-world context."

Mr Shephard said that in addition to the USQ students, there will a scholarship holder and some graduates employed by Ergon on the tour.

Engineers Australia Toowoomba Group members also have been invited to attend today through their Toowoomba co-chair Waqar Butt, an Ergon employee.

Some Ergon staff and other contractors who have worked on elements of the project, as well as some managers and contractors from the larger Grand Central project, also will take the opportunity to see the almost finished product.

Downers, the contractors responsible for fitting out the substation building, have worked this site visit into their tight schedule and will provide guides for the six tour groups as part of a partnership with Ergon that has made this event possible.

Mr Shephard said the new fully enclosed substation was being built in conjunction with the Garden Central Shopping Centre redevelopment, while the current substation across the road would be dismantled and become a car parking area.

"The $74 million project also includes an upgrade at the South Toowoomba substation and a double circuit 110kV line between the two substations to provide a higher level of reliability and security of supply for the 24,000 customers supplied from them," he said.

Media Contact: Rod Rehbein
Phone: 4153 9813 or 0407 031 072

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