Gracemere substation and powerline route

Project Update

Over the past two years, electricity demand has slowed resulting in the Gracemere substation project being delayed. The substation is not expected to be constructed until 2018 - 2020 and we will keep the community informed once timeframes for the project are confirmed.

The project

Rapidly developing housing estates and additional industrial development planned to the west drove a significant increase in demand for electricity. This demand led Ergon Energy to identify that a new substation was required to adequately cater for the economic development and growth in the region.

Land for a future substation in Gracemere was acquired in 2012 as well as the acquisition of a powerline route to connect the new substation with the existing Malchi substation (which currently supplies electricity to the Gracemere community) and Egan's Hill substation (which will connect with the new substation and support the existing power supply and provide opportunities for future growth).

Project facts

  • Ergon Energy purchased a site on the corner of Platen, John, James and Lawrie streets in Gracemere to build a new substation to support economic development and growth in the region and provide improved reliability to Gracemere residents.
  • Ergon Energy needs to construct a new powerline to connect the new Gracemere substation with the existing Malchi (the primary high voltage point of supply) and Egan's Hill substations.
  • A proposed powerline route has been identified.
  • The powerline will be a 66,000 volt (66kV) concrete pole line and will be built underground along Lawrie Street (approximately from Ranger Street to John Street and into the new substation).
  • Ergon Energy will continue to provide the community with information about the project as the project progresses and carefully consider any feedback.

Community impact

Minimising community impact is a key criteria in both the identification of a preferred site for the substation and powerline route as well as for the design of the facility.

Purchased substation site

After a number of investigations and in consultation with Rockhampton Regional Council's staff and elected representatives, Ergon Energy went to the community with a preferred site close to the load centre for the new substation which is bordered by Platen, John, James and Lawrie streets.

This site was identified after the investigation of 10 other sites that were deemed unsuitable for a number of reasons including drainage, location, technical constraints and community impact.

A further seven sites were also suggested by the community, which  were determined to be unsuitable for Ergon Energy's requirements.

Ergon Energy proceeded with the purchase of the site bordering Platen, John, James and Lawrie streets in 2012.

Map of the proposed Gracemere substation site and surrounding area

Proposed powerline route

A preferred powerline route has also been identified to supply the new substation from the existing Malchi bulk supply substation as well as link to the existing Egan's Hill substation to deliver reliable power supply to the community.

We welcome feedback from the community on suggestions to manage any potential impacts from the substation and powerline route development.

View the Gracemere Substation and Powerline Location Map (PDF 328 kb) or Gracemere Substation Site and Surrounding Area Map (PDF 918 kb) in futher detail.

Project history

The Egans Hill substation is the primary point of supply for the Malchi substation which supplies Gracemere and outlying communities, however the demand loads on the existing Malchi substation is approaching capacity.

Land for a future substation in Gracemere was acquired in 2012 as well as the acquisition of a powerline route

Project schedule

  • Issue and stakeholder identification
  • Identify options
  • Evaluate alternatives
Completed 2011 - 2012
  • Communicate with the Gracemere community
  • Provide opportunities for feedback until Friday 8 June 2012.
Completed May - June 2012
  • Evaluate feedback
  • Incorporate feedback
  • Draft substation design
2018 - 2019
  • Update community
  • Finalise design
  • Construction commences
2019 - 2020

Public information sessions

A number of information sessions were held in 2012 to talk to the community about this project.

More information will be made available as the project progresses.


Download the newsletter about the Gracemere Substation and Powerline project.

Frequently asked questions

Download the Frequently Asked Questions (PDF 683 kb) (FAQs) for the Gracemere Substation and Powerline Project.

Why is the project needed?

The construction of the substation will ensure the Gracemere community continues to be provided with a reliable power supply and will allow for future growth in the region.

The demand load on the existing Malchi substation supplying the town is approaching substation capacity, and additional capacity needs to be created to ensure reliability of supply for the township.

Did you consider other options?


Ergon Energy undertook a thorough assessment of a number of potential locations for the substation site in the Gracemere area.

We investigated available land within the township precinct based on the criteria of proximity to the electricity load, site access, network access and minimal social and environmental impacts.

The new substation for Gracemere needs to be located within the township to supply electricity to the growing number of residential estates currently being developed or planned for development, as well as supplying the industrial area on the western approach to the town along the Capricorn Highway.

This location will also cater for increased demand from future commercial development within the Gracemere CBD.

Ergon Energy, with the support of the Rockhampton Regional Council, believes the selected substation site will offer the lowest overall environment, social and economic impact to the Gracemere community.

Powerline location:

Ergon Energy investigated a number of powerline route options taking social, environmental, design and cost factors into consideration before the proposed powerline corridor was selected.

What planning approvals are required?

The proposed substation site was purchased as a private sale and the development of a substation is exempt under the current planning scheme.

Despite having exemption to build a substation in the town, Ergon Energy has taken a collaborative approach to working with Rockhampton Regional Council to identify a suitable location for the substation.

We have also taken guidance from Local and State planning legislation to ensure the project takes into consideration all potential impacts.

What were the environmental, design and cost factors that were considered before the line route was proposed?

Main considerations in selecting the powerline route included:

  • Avoiding, where possible, nearby houses and buildings, recreation areas, scenic and tourism areas, conservation and heritage areas, population centres and areas zoned for urban use
  • Avoiding, where possible, extremely rough or steep terrain including water bodies
  • Minimising the impact on the number of small land parcels and cultivated land affected, as well as endangered ecosystems
  • Minimising clearing of native vegetation, both regrowth and remnant, and its potential habitat values
  • Minimising impacts to potential endangered, vulnerable and near threatened flora and fauna species.

What will the substation look like?

The substation will have a modern appearance and will avoid detracting from the visual amenity of the area.

Will the substation be fenced?

All Ergon Energy substations are fully enclosed by fencing as a security measure to protect members of the community from possible harm and to avoid any damage occurring to electrical infrastructure.

This fencing can be a combination of chain mesh fencing for security purposes, and/or timber fencing to provide screening of the substation from the street and help improve the visual amenity.

Gates and doors will be locked at all times.

Will the substation create a lot of noise?

Low levels of background noise are associated with normal substation operation. The faint hum is usually indistinguishable from surrounding sounds.

As part of the environmental impact assessment for a substation site, a noise assessment is carried out in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act 1994, Environmental Protection Policy (Noise), and noise mitigation measures are put in place, where necessary.

When will the substation and powerlines be built?

The new Gracemere zone substation and the powerlines connecting the new substation to the existing Malchi and Egans Hill substations are expected to be constructed between 2018 and 2020.

Ergon Energy will continue to provide the community with information about the project and will advise residents of the expected construction dates as the project progresses.

Why aren't powerlines near residential communities placed underground?

The cost to underground powerlines is significantly more than constructing them above ground.

Electricity infrastructure projects are a necessity, and while we continually balance the costs and impacts of infrastructure construction so as to have minimal impact on communities, some strategies are not cost effective.

Ergon Energy is required to meet obligations under the National Electricity Law which promotes the efficient investment in and operation and use of electricity services for the long term interests of electricity consumers.

Are there any health risks?

When substations and powerlines are discussed, many people ask about electric and magnetic fields (EMF). EMF are generated by any object with electric current flowing through it including powerlines and all electrical appliances used in homes such as televisions, washing machines, microwaves, hair dryers and computers.

The level of EMF from powerlines depends on the amount of current flowing along the lines. Fields decrease in strength the further you move away from the source. Putting powerlines underground does not stop EMF as the earth does not shield magnetic fields.

Fortunately, EMF can be reduced by configuring wires in a particular design. The project team will design the transmission lines with this in mind.

Ergon Energy's standards for EMF emissions continue to be better than those required by Australian and international health authorities.

Along the proposed line route and at the substation boundary, EMF levels are expected to be well within the limits required by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and similar to those encountered in daily life.

Tests will confirm this during a survey of the proposed line route and substation site before the project is completed.

More detailed information on EMF and links to the ICNIRP website and other relevant organisations can be found on the Ergon Energy website under Electric and magnetic fields.

Project contact details

For more information or to provide feedback about the Gracemere substation site and powerline route, please contact the project team:

Phone: 1300 653 055


Or complete our online project feedback form.

Ergon Energy will continue to keep the community informed as the project progresses via letters, newsletters, newspaper notices, stakeholder meetings and via the Ergon Energy website.

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