Tighes Hill substation project

Tighes Hill zone substation architect's impression 

Ausgrid is constructing a new 33,000/11,000 volt zone substation at 73 Elizabeth Street in Tighes Hill. The above image is an impression of the proposed substation by the project's architects.

The project was initially approved for construction in 2012 but prior to construction starting Ausgrid undertook a review of electricity needs in the area to be supplied by the new substation. Following that review Ausgrid decided to proceed with plans for the new substation.

Because of the time that had passed since the original approval, Ausgrid updated the environmental assessment and conducted additional community engagement, before a new assessment process was undertaken and the project was approved for construction.


Project need

This substation is required as a replacement for the existing Carrington zone substation located on the corner of Hannell and Elizabeth Streets in Carrington and is required to maintain a reliable electricity supply to customers in the area.

Carrington zone substation supplies industrial customers in the Newcastle port area as well as commercial and residential customers in Islington, Tighes Hill, and Maryville. The substation entered service in 1967 and major pieces of its equipment are nearing the end of their service life.

Replacement of this equipment within the existing substation is not feasible given a range of constraints, including the condition of the buildings and the presence of other underground infrastructure outside the substation’s perimeter fence.

Ausgrid owns vacant land at 73 Elizabeth Street in Tighes Hill where the new zone substation is being built. 

Project status

Following approval of the project for construction, the building contractor set up on site on 22 February 2016 and is expected to complete the civil construction component of the project in late 2016. 

Building design

Ausgrid and architectural firm Schreiber Hamilton prepared plans for the new Tighes Hill zone substation. Architect’s sketches of the building and a plan showing the proposed substation layout are shown in the December 2015 project newsletter - see link on the right of this page.

The building has a modern character and is designed to suit the site and also to meet the substation’s engineering requirements as well as building code and safety standards. It will house the majority of the substation's electrical equipment.

The design is very similar to that previously shown to the community, but there have been minor changes to reflect some of the feedback received during earlier community consultation. The substation’s position on the site has been moved further to the south, away from Elizabeth Street, and the height of the walls between the transformer bays reduced. 

The operating voltage and configuration of the main elements of the proposed facility are the same as outlined in earlier community information.

Two transformers will be installed. A third transformer bay will also be constructed, but it will only be used if the electricity load in area grows significantly in the future. Current forecasts indicate this will not happen in the next 10 years.

The proposed exterior materials are a combination of painted concrete panels and a Colorbond roof. The boundary fence will be black chain wire and an inner security fence will be erected directly around the substation equipment to prevent unauthorised access.

Project approval process

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, Ausgrid was the determining authority for this project. An environmental assessment (known as a Review of Environmental Factors or REF) was been prepared for the project in accordance with Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and Clause 228 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

The environmental assessment or 'Review of Environmental Factors' (REF) investigated the potential environmental impacts associated with the construction, operation and maintenance of the proposed substation. It also recommended mitigation measures as required to ensure any impacts are at acceptable levels.

Following preparation of the REF, including consideration of final input from the community, Ausgrid has assessed the project for construction approval based on information contained in the REF and any other relevant documents.

Community involvement

Community consultation for the project began in 2010 and the substation was approved for construction in 2012. At that time the plans were put on hold to allow Ausgrid to review the latest electricity needs in the area to be supplied by the new substation.

Following that review has been completed and Ausgrid then provided the local community with another opportunity to review the design and provide feedback before the project was again assessed for construction approval.

Feedback from the consultation process to date has been incorporated wherever possible into the latest design.

During earlier community engagement, Ausgrid was asked to consider providing pedestrian access from Elizabeth Street to the Throsby Creek foreshore, and a shared pathway along the foreshore frontage. 

Following negotiations with Newcastle Council and Hunter Water, both of these elements have been incorporated in the development. The two paths will provide safe access from Elizabeth Street to Throsby Street, and improve the amenity for pedestrians and cyclists using the creek foreshore area.

The substation development will use only the eastern side of the site. The western portion will be left undisturbed.

The updated plans were shown to the community from December 2015 to provide a final opportunity for interested people to ask questions and make comments for consideration before the designs were finalised for assessment and construction approval. 

What to expect during construction

As with any construction site there will be typical building impacts such as noise and dust as a result of work on and around the site.

Any potential impacts were assessed as part of an environmental assessment (known as a Review of Environmental Factors or REF) and measures put in place to minimise impacts on the local environment.

The work with most significant impact will typically be during the first twelve months of the project as the builder carries out earthworks and building construction.

Installation of new equipment within the new structure will be of lower impact with Ausgrid staff working predominantly within the building.

Ausgrid does not plan to interrupt local electricity supplies as part of this project.

Planned work hours for this project are be in accordance with Ausgrid standard construction hours of 7.00am to 6.00pm on weekdays and 8.00am to 1.00pm on Saturdays.