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The evolution of the Yarraville substation

Built in early 1922, Yarraville Terminal Substation was the oldest station in the Jemena electricity distribution network and the first established in Melbourne by the newly formed State Electricity Commission. It was the first station at the end of the transmission line from the new Yallourn Power Station and comprised of two 132/66kV transformers, a 22kV and 6.6kV switchyards.

In the 1950s the station was rebuilt as a zone substation and consisted of two original transformers rewound to 66/22kV, 10 MVA transformers and the existing switchyards. The original 6.6kV switchyard was decommissioned and while the 22kV switchyard had circuit breakers replaced

over time, the rest of the equipment and particularly the transformers were well past their economic life.

The arrangement of the switchyards meant there was potential for hazardous situations to occur due to the layout, spacing and aging equipment. The transformers were not fitted with tap changers to control the station voltage, and relied on capacitor banks to regulate the station voltage. The outdoor equipment was susceptible to outages caused by weather, birds and animals. The loss of a single transformer could put the station at risk of a total black out situation.

The station supplied around 5,245 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Yarraville and surrounding areas. Increasing supply demands meant the station couldn’t keep up any longer and was officially decommissioned to make way for the new Yarraville Zone Substation (YVE).

The original plant remained in active service until 7.10am on 5 February 2014, when the site was decommissioned to make way for the new zone substation.

Residential, commercial and industrial customers in Yarraville and surrounding areas will directly benefit from the upgrade, which involved installing two new transformers, new switchgear and the construction of a new control building.

Capacity at the new zone substation has increased to meet the forecasted demand for the next ten years. Provisions have been made for further expansion beyond this with population expected to grow over the next 20 years to around 340,000 living and working in the Jemena Electricity Network.