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The Issues

"Energex is pursuing an option that is built directly through the backyards, rural enterprises and recreation space of local residents thereby affecting property values, landscape attributes and community aesthetics. Freehold land constitutes 60% of the proposed corridor. Energex (expect to pass) on the real cost of construction to the residents through decreased rural productivity, lower property values and impacted aesthetic and wildlife values."

VETO Submission to Energex FIAR July 2010 (p39)  Read more...> pdf_64


The Energex proposed second Loganlea to Jimboomba 110kV powerline and 40 metre cleared easement through our Community is:-
  • High Cost - Requiring higher overhead costs for Easement Acquisitions, Environmental Offsets, Complex Construction along the Logan River, including 7 kms of of River Access Tracks and more expensive ongoing Maintenance than lower cost alternatives located away from the Logan River flood hazard zone.
  • The proposed cost of this second powerline in the 2009 Energex Planning Approval Report submitted to the Australian Energy Regulator for approval was $25.6 million, however in September 2013 the Energex DAPR (Distribution Annual Planning Report) Volume 2 page 2003, estimates the cost of this proposed power line will now be $50 million +/- 15%. And this is conservative, as Energex have still not completed the Geotech Survey along the Logan River to determine the feasibility and cost to construct 29 concrete poles in the Logan River flood hazard zone.  Note: normally, a Geotech Survey along with assessment of Acid sulphate soil impacts would be performed as part of the initial corridor feasibility study. But not in this case, Energex selected the Logan River Route first (expecting less sensitive receptors) and they are arrogantly determined to build this powerline despite objections, rising costs and lower cost alternatives ;
  • Dangerous and Won't Deliver a High Reliability Power Supply Solution - Purposely running 6km of this high voltage transmission line within the flood hazard zone of the Logan River when this river is predicted to experience more severe future flood events is irresponsible as it imposes unnecessary health and safety risks for our Community, as well as Emergency Service and Energex workers. Energex claim supply will automatically turn-off if this high voltage power line is damaged during a flood. What they can’t explain is how they expect to restore supply, when they won’t be able to get near this power line for many days during and after a flood. So how will this expensive power line improve reliability and flood resilience for the many consumers that will become dependent on it?
  • High Impact State Sponsored Environmental Vandalism - Permanently compromising the Camp Cable Koala Corridor and the already fragile Logan River bioregional corridor. These are unique community assets that need to be enhanced for the benefit of our growing community, not permanently scarred by a powerline and 40 metre cleared easement. Nature isn't building more river systems in our area and our State Government has an legislated obligation to protect and enhance the Logan River;
  • Ignores Lower Impact Alternative Solutions - Energex have been so narrowly focused on securing a second powerline corridor between Kingston and Jimboomba they have run a sham community consultation process totally ignoring community feedback and lower impact, even lower cost alternatives. A local Powerlink substation is needed to provide sufficient capacity to support forecast growth in our Region and is estimated to cost $10 million less than the proposed second powerline from Loganlea. Also if a substation was built first, it would also save the $50+ million cost of this proposed powerline and actually deliver reliability with a second source of supply, rather than our Region (Browns Plains to the Border) continuing to be dependent on sole supply from the Powerlink substation at Loganlea.
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Camp Cable Koala Corridor

Habitat within the southern section of the proposed powerline route is of high conservation value comprising important fauna habitat, including extensive Koala bushland [FIAR fig 11.1], endangered Regional Ecosystems [FIAR fig 3.1(h)] and bioregional corridors [FIAR fig 11.2]. Energex claim that using the existing 33kV easement that cuts through properties from Waterford-Tamborine Road (opposite Pioneer Drive) over Hotz Rd, under the Powerlink 275kV powerlines then through more properties on the southern side of Camp Cable Rd to the Jimboomba substation is the preferred option as it reduces “the amount of easements required” [FIAR p5], supposedly reduces the impact on residents and shows that Energex is responding to community requests to co-locate infrastructure.The reality is that the impact of the existing 33 kV powerline on 14m wooden poles with an easement of 10 metres is significantly less than what is being proposed with the dual (33kV +110kV) powerline on 20 to 25 m concrete poles with a 40 metre cleared easement.

hotz_rd_near_home ccrd_existing_33kv_easement dual_110kv_powerline

Existing 33kV Powerline near a home
and over driveway in Hotz Road

Existing narrow easement 33kV Powerline
across properties in Camp Cable Road

Proposed (typical) dual circuit 110 kV
powerline with 40 metre cleared easement

The existing 33 kV line cuts through residential properties. Adding the 110kV line locates the widened easement (minimum 20m clearance each side of the powerline to enable "prudent avoidance" for the higher voltage and higher EMF) close to homes and over some home business buildings (as shown in the proposed powerlline easement map below). In many cases Energex propose to “dog-leg” the new double (33kV + 110kV) powerline around homes in an attempt to maintain the required minimum "prudent avoidance" clearances. But the reality is the easement will be widened, many mature koala habitat trees will be removed and the amenity of these residential properties will be destroyed. The irony is that most of these properties have a frontage on wide main road easements (Waterford Tamborine or Camp Cable Road) and these main roads are expected to be expanded to dual carriage highways. So these residents are now facing the prospect of the expanded powerline easement on their property (either at the back or in-front of their homes) plus the expansion of the main road at the front of their property.


Proposed dual circuit (110kV & 33kV) overhead powerline running through properties, parallel with Camp Cable Road
(refer map 13 in the Energex section)  Why can't this proposed powerline be located within the wide road easement ?

Long term residents in Camp Cable Road say that the 33kV easement through their property was required when Camp Cable Rd retained the WW II curves and they were told that the powerline would be relocated to Camp Cable Rd when it was straightened. Camp Cable Road has now been straightened, has a wide road easement but the 33kV powerline though properties remains and now Energex want to add the 110 kV powerline and significantly expand the cleared easement.It is also of interest that throughout the project documentation, Energex state that they will be replacing the existing 33kV wooden poles with 25 metre concrete poles and adding the 110kV po werline. These statemnts ignore the reality that the existing wooden poles also carry distribution services, in many cases 11kV and some 415V and 240V services.

hotz_rd_multiple_services ccrd_33&11kv_to_ug_under_powerlink ccrd_multiple_powerlines

Existing multiple services on a wooden pole in Hotz Road. The proposed easement map indicates that the 110kV powerline will run between new concrete poles above these lines, but then Energex reserves the right to change current plans in the final design.

Two existing wooden poles south of the
Powerlink Easement. Note transition from
underground crossing for 33kV and 11kV services.
Surely the proposed 110 kV will also need an
underground transition ?

Multiple services with 33kV on top then 11kV, 415V
plus 240V services to residences on two wooden poles
in Camp Cable Road. Supposedly these poles will be
replaced with concrete poles & the 110kV powerline
added, without disrupting the distribution services ?

We've heard, to overcome the complication of maintaining these services during construction of the 110kV service, the lower voltage services will be relocated to the road easement as underground services. We can only ask (again), wouldn’t it be easier to locate the new 110 kV powerline as an underground service within the wide road easement. The middle picture (above) shows that the existing 33kV and 11kV powerlines transition to underground to cross the major Powerlink easement near the eastern end of Camp Cable road. Won’t the proposed 110kV powerline also need to transition to underground to cross this easement and why can't it remain as underground along Camp Cable Road? Energex claim they are not able to locate the 110kV powerline on Camp Cable Road because:-

  • “the road is targeted for expansion in the future, which means Energex would need to locate the poles outside the expansion area and place them closer to properties at the front boundary or relocate them, possibly back into the existing 33kV easement, when the road is widened.”

  • “moving the powerlines out of the easement and onto the road would result in much more vegetation being removed, which not only has ecological significance but also provides some noise buffer from road traffic.”

  • “there is at least one property along Camp Cable Road that would need to be fully acquired.” (note: there is always one unidentified property,- maybe the owners want to sell)

However each of these claims are based on providing an overhead powerline and further highlights Energex’s narrow thinking as an underground powerline along Camp Cable Road (and other established wide roads in the area) would overcome these issues. It does appear that undergrounding is now being considered to provide short term fixes for the lower voltage (distribution services), whereas with real pre-planning and co-ordination of service easements with Main Roads, the 110kV powerline could be located within the wide road easements and overcome the majority of the issues and community objections to the current overhead powerline proposal. When Allconnex constructed an underground water pipeline along the southern side of Camp Cable Road and the western side of Waterford Tamborine Road. Residents asked if Allconnex can locate their utility service underground on these roads, why can’t Energex? Surely with some inter Agency co-ordination Energex could have had ducts for the underground powerline laid while the water pipeline easement was open. This would have saved money but appears to be too much to expect from government agencies in Queensland. 


Logan River Floodplain

The Logan River begins in the Border Ranges on the Queensland-NSW border and has a catchment of 2,940 sq. kms and a total length of 191 km. The Logan River has a history of major floods. The maps below,show the proposed location of the powerline and the 27 concrete power poles that Energex propose to locate within the Logan River Q100 floodplain. The Q100 flood level is based on the 1974 flood which was the most severe in the 20th century. However the 1887 flood level was higher and as noted in the next section, Climate Change predictions predict that the sea level rise of 0.8m combined with more severe storm events could result in future higher flood levels.

fiar fig9-1h Logan_River_Q100_Flood_Level

Energex map [FIAR fig 9.1] showing the 6kms of the proposed

powerline from Glen Rd to Logan Village that will be located

within the Logan River floodplain.
(click on map to enlarge)

Another Energex map showing proposed power pole locations

near river crossings #1 and # 2 where flood currents are

constricted by the Natalie Road cliff and flow at higher rates

directly along the proposed powerline route.
(click on map to enlarge)

Energex have chosen to ignore advice based on local community observations of flood behaviour. Instead Energex are relying solely on a Worley Parsons flood modelling report which is based on the 1974 flood data. Furthermore, the flood information included in this report was limited to just peak flood levels and the approximate extent of inundation with no data on actual flood discharges or flow velocities. Nor did it consider the impact of local topograph features and predicted future severe flooding events, sea level rise or storm surge affects. So how can we have confidence in this proposed Energex powerline design ?

During the January 2013 floods there were 22,000 homes without electricity supply in our region, because many local distribution overhead powerlines were brought down by high winds and fallen trees. Most of these homes were without power for 4 to 6 days and when asked when these homes could expect to have supply restored, Energex spokesperson Mike Swanston said “We Can’t Get in to Restore Power !

This is because main roads including Waterford-Tamborine Road, Mt Lindesay Highway, Camp Cable Road and many local roads are cut by flood waters and the suburb of Buccan becomes an island. Won’t the same access issue also prevent restoration of the proposed second Loganlea to Jimboomba powerline when it inevitably fails during a future Logan River flood?

However the difference is if this second powerline is allowed to be constructed and our region becomes dependent on it, the impact of an extended outage will be much greater, with supply disrupted for many more consumers from Brown Plains to Beaudesert. So how does building this powerline for $50M+ in the Logan River flood hazard zone actually improve electricity supply reliability for our region?