Blackwattle Bay electricity upgrade

Blackwattle Bay upgrade 

Ausgrid is currently upgrading our network in the Blackwattle Bay area to ensure reliability of supply to surrounding residents and businesses. The Blackwattle Bay substation and associated cables and equipment are some of the oldest on our network and are ready to be retired.

Project need

Blackwattle Bay, located on the edge of Sydney's CBD is a predominantly urban area with a mix of high-density residential and commercial properties and is partially supplied by the Blackwattle Bay substation. Darling Harbour, Broadway and Pyrmont are also supplied by this substation via a large number of 5,000 Volt cables, which are among the oldest in Ausgrid’s system. The Blackwattle Bay renewal program will enable us to provide reliable electricity into the future by replacing electrical infrastructure and modifying our network to better service this area.

Project stages

Ausgrid plans to retire the Blackwattle Bay substation, upgrade associated equipment and install sections of new 11,000 Volt cables in Camperdown and Pyrmont. The new cables would allow for a connection between Camperdown substation which has recently been upgraded and the Darling Harbour substation and to provide a security of supply to the area.

The renewal program has a number of stages as outlined below. While these stages are separate projects, they all form part of the greater renewal program which will enable the Blackwattle Bay substation to eventually be retired. Please note, residents and businesses potentially impacted by the various stages will be provided with more information about how the work may impact them.

Stage one – equipment upgrades in 5,000 Volt substations (now – December 2017) around Blackwattle Bay
There are 56 distribution substations connected to the Blackwattle Bay zone substation. Of these smaller substations which are located throughout the pennisula, 27 require equipment upgrades to prepare for conversion to 11,000 Volts. Impacts from these conversation include planned power disruptions to a small number of residents and businesses, plus some temporary traffic, parking or access restrictions while equipment is being delivered and replaced. 

Stage two – cabling works (early 2017- late 2018) in Camperdown and Pyrmont
A number of new 11,000 Volt underground cables will be installed to connect the Camperdown zone substation to the Darling Harbour substation. Some of these cables will be pulled through existing conduits (pipes) already installed in roadways and trenching work required to install new conduits to complete the cable route between the two substations. Construction impacts during trenching to nearby residents and businesses may include potential work at night plus impacts on pedestrian and vehicle traffic including a reduction of available parking. After all conduits have been installed, sections of cables will be pulled through and joined in bays (excavated pits). There will also be associated works that would require short power disruptions to local residents and businesses to allow for the switch over to the new equipment. 

Stage three – Blackwattle Bay zone substation decommissioning (early 2019)
Decommissioning of Blackwattle Bay zone substation is planned for early 2019, once the network and upgrade works have been completed. After the substation has been decommissioned and equipment removed, the site would be made safe and prepared for future use. At this time, Ausgrid would consider whether the site is required to be kept. Unless notified, local electricity supply would not be affected by these works.

Project status

The project will be completed in stages as outlined above. The first stage has started, with the smaller distribution substations currently being upgraded across Pyrmont, Ultimo and Chippendale. Nearby residents and businesses are being consulted in advance with details on how the activities may affect them. This work will continue until the end of 2017.

Ausgrid is planning to start engaging on stage two in early 2017 with work estimated to start afterwards. It is anticipated that final conversion of transformers and decommissioning of Blackwattle Bay zone substation will occur in early 2019.

Community engagement

As Ausgrid plans this project, there are a number of factors to consider, including: 

  • community impacts
  • availability of space around existing utility services
  • environmental and heritage impacts
  • cost (minimising the impact on electricity bills)
  • technical feasibility
  • traffic impacts including light rail, pedestrian, bicycle and road
  • stakeholders who may be uniquely impacted by temporary power disruptions or construction

We will continue to provide updates on planned activities and information on what to expect during construction as the project progresses. Feedback from the community, councils and other authorities is encouraged during all stages of the project. All feedback is considered during planning and scheduling to assist in minimising impacts on the surrounding communities. To find out more or to provide feedback to Ausgrid, please get in touch any time via the contacts on the right of this page. 

Project approval process and environmental assessment

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, Ausgrid is the determining authority for the various stages of this project. Environmental assessments are prepared for each stage in accordance with Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and Clause 228 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

Planned power outages

There will be planned power outages during some stages of this project. All potentially affected community and business members would be notified in advance if they are to be affected by temporary power interruptions. This page will be updated regularly with information and for details specific to your area, please, visit Ausgrid's power outage page.

What to expect during construction

Like on any construction site there will be typical construction impacts such as noise and dust. Ausgrid assesses potential impacts as part of the environmental assessments and puts measures in place to minimise impacts on the local environment.

Impacts to residents and businesses will vary during each stage of the project and will depend on proximity to assets. Initially impacts may include temporary power interruptions or parking/traffic restrictions, but there will also be construction related impacts during some stages. Like any construction work, the project will involve noise and dust, which we would work to reduce as much as possible.

Ausgrid will continue to provide regular updates to the community living or working in the areas where we are, or plan to be working.