New undersea power cable laid to Kangaroo Island | Photos

Installation of a new undersea power cable to connect Kangaroo Island to the SA electricity distribution network is almost complete.

The 20,000 kVA/33,000 volt cable is 15 kilometres long and manufactured as one continuous length without any joints.

This is the longest continuous undersea cable to be installed in Australia.

SA Power Networks general manager of networks Mark Vincent said the new cable had double the capacity of the existing cable.

“The new supply will provide well in excess of anticipated peak demand growth on the island over the next 30 years,” Mr Vincent said.

“The new cable also has fibre optic cables for protection and monitoring of the cable, and surplus fibre optic cables will be offered to telecommunication companies to provide additional telephone and internet services to the island.

“We’re keeping the existing 10,000 kVA/33,000 volt cable while it is serviceable to act as a back-up supply to the island and maintain the backup power station at Kingscote.”

Cable laying operations took place between June 1-9 and involved more than 100 ship crew, divers, support boats and project personnel working between Fisheries Beach on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula near Cape Jervis, and Cuttlefish Bay on Kangaroo Island.

Perth-based specialist Fugro and its subsea vessel Southern Star was contracted to supply and install the undersea cable and complete associated termination/connection works on a full turnkey basis. 

Additional work to connect the new cable to the SA electricity network is planned for July, with the project expected conclusion by October.

Kangaroo Island is the third largest island off the coast of Australia, situated 15 kilometres off the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia and has a population of about 4500 people. 

65 CABLE: The ship Cobargo laid the first undersea cable to Kangaroo Island in 1965. See more old photos in the gallery above. Photo: Supplied by Wren Lashmar

65 CABLE: The ship Cobargo laid the first undersea cable to Kangaroo Island in 1965. See more old photos in the gallery above. Photo: Supplied by Wren Lashmar

Then and now

The Islander was contacted by KI resident Wren Lashmar, who provided some fantastic photos of the previous undersea power cable laying operations.

The ship Cobargo, with the assistance of a tug, laid the first undersea cable to Kangaroo Island in 1965.

Mr Lashmar who was then living at Antechamber Bay was supplied with photos taken from the cliff tops above Cuttlefish Bay of the ship and cable laying operation from a boat on the ocean.

He was also able to secure a surplus piece of the 1963 cable from its terminus that he still has today. Fellow KI resident Marie Florance also claims to have a piece of the old cable.

Then in 1993, Mr Lashmar again documented the laying of the next cable that was done by the ship Derwent Enterprise.

Back then he was a keen diver and boater, having dived on many of the island’s shipwrecks.

He said he had a dive on the old telephone cable that came up at Alex Lookout, between Penneshaw and Cuttlefish Bay. 

Having just returned from a trip to NSW and Victoria, he said it was a shame that he missed documenting this third and latest cable laying operation. 

The Islander was able to supply with him the photographs from SA Power Networks so his own records are up to date.  

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