Major electricity network upgrade in Gozo
Enemalta plc is completing a major upgrade of the electricity network in Gozo to increase reliability of service to its customers on this island.
This upgrade forms part of the Company’s €80 million Network Reinforcement Project, launched in 2014. In Gozo, it includes the development of the new 33 kV Xewkija Distribution Centre, the upgrading of 11 kV substations and the addition of 12 kilometres of new underground high voltage cable connections to consolidate network redundancy and provide the necessary capacity for current and future electricity demand. The new infrastructure will enhance reliability by reducing the risk of supply interruptions to customers whilst reducing the duration of interruptions caused by storm damages, natural faults or other unexpected network disturbances.
The new Xewkija Distribution Centre is Enemalta’s second distribution centre in Gozo. Built in a more centrally-located area than the existing 1987 Qala Distribution Centre, the new centre will be improving security of electricity supply to Gozo as the island will no longer be dependent on one such system. Gozo is connected to the national electricity grid on mainland Malta through a number of 33 kV subsea cables, some of which are routed through Comino, where Enemalta operates another distribution centre. Until a few months ago these cables supplied the Gozo network through the Qala Distribution Centre only. The Xewkija Distribution Centre is introducing an alternative network node with the necessary capacity to provide for the island’s electricity demand from the mainland’s network.
The new distribution centre includes three incoming 33 kV high voltage feeder cables linked to the Qala Distribution Centre and to the Comino Distribution Centre, a further spare 33 kV switchgear bay, two 22.5/30 MVA transformers and 11 kV switchgear controlling nine outgoing 11 kV feeders supplying the island’s localities and a further 3 spare outgoing 11kV feeders. Enemalta also installed 12 kilometres of underground high voltage cables in different localities to develop the alternative network connections from the new distribution centre to different parts of Gozo. Several 11 kV substations across the island were also upgraded to accommodate the new connections.
One of the distribution centre’s transformers, installed late last year, was fully tested and connected to the network a few weeks ago. The installation of the second transformer, which was brought to the new distribution centre from the Qala Distribution Centre last month, is expected to be commissioned within a few weeks, when the distribution centre will be fully-energised.
Enemalta’s ongoing €80 million Network Reinforcement Project is one of the biggest network upgrades in the history of electricity distribution in Malta. It aims to enhance the resilience and reliability of the national electricity grid across Malta and Gozo. Besides the new distribution centre in Gozo, another five new similar installations are being developed in Malta. The St Andrew’s Distribution Centre was commissioned early this year whilst the Manoel Island Distribution Centre is nearing completion as well. Other new distribution centres are being developed at Marsa, Ricasoli and Mriehel. Three of Enemalta’s existing distribution centres at Marsa, Santa Venera and Mellieha are being upgraded with new transformers and switchgear. Over 100 kilometres of new high voltage underground cables are being added to the network to provide new alternative connections linking critical nodes in different areas and localities. The project also includes the replacement of older switchgear equipment in many of the Company’s 11 kV substations and the introduction of new automation systems to facilitate switching operations.