SunCoast relaunched to support Sunshine Coast growth

8 February 2017

Work has recommenced on the SunCoast power project to support increasing network demand due to significant development and growth throughout the Sunshine Coast.

Energy Minister, Mark Bailey, who announced the construction phase of the $86.7 million project in early February 2017 said the work would provide an important foundation for the area’s expansion.

“The launch of SunCentral coupled with planned domestic housing developments, the new University Hospital and increasing demand in the region, has heightened the need for the SunCoast project to proceed,” he said.

“The Caloundra South (Aura) development will house an additional 50,000 people and create thousands of jobs and obviously place significant additional demand on the power network.

“The development of a new CBD in Maroochydore will be one of the most significant infrastructure projects the Sunshine Coast has ever seen and will no doubt attract significantly more investment and jobs to the region.

“With this sort of investment will come increased demand on the electricity network from both a commercial and residential perspective and we have to be ready for that.

“This project will directly benefit more than 100,000 homes and businesses and indirectly boost supply to a further 175,000 electricity customers on the Sunshine Coast.

“A robust network is also important to facilitate the connection of future renewable projects, including the Council’s Valdora solar farm which is currently under construction."

Mr Bailey said the project had been revised to omit the earlier proposed connection to Pacific Paradise, based on immediate electricity requirements at this stage.

The SunCoast project had initially been postponed however planned domestic and commercial developments have prompted its reinstatement.

Planned increases in population and business growth along the powerline trajectory will require higher transmission capacity, particularly during peak consumption hours.

The construction of the powerline will allow for this expected load increase, while maintaining the existing supply quality across the rest of the region.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the investment of this scale in critical regional infrastructure is both welcome and necessary given the growth trajectory of the Sunshine Coast.

“As I have said many times, this is an exciting time in the history of the Sunshine Coast with over $10 billion in private and public investment occurring now or in the pipeline and with a forecast population growth rate that is the second highest in Queensland,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“It is vital that core infrastructure like the electricity distribution network keep pace with the demand generated by both population and business investment growth and to this end, our Council welcomes the news that the SunCoast power project is proceeding.”

Energy Queensland Executive General Manager for Asset Safety and Performance Peter Price said the increase in transmission capacity was required to meet projected increases in population and increased demand, particularly during peak usage times.

“This will create additional demand on the network, and the construction of this project will allow us to manage that load without risking supply to the region,” he said.

The SunCoast project will be rolled out in stages with the first nine months comprising preparatory and design work including survey, environmental and vegetation assessments and in some cases, cultural heritage assessments.

The main civil works are due to begin in early 2018 with the project expected to be completed in late 2020. These timelines are subject to weather conditions and other unforeseen factors.

Energex will continue engaging with landholders along the existing easement as the project progresses to ensure it is delivered in line with planned Sunshine Coast growth and jobs.

Energex is committed to ensuring the project has as little impact on the environment as possible and would adhere to strict environmental guidelines such as a species management and offsets.