Case Study: Complex Tower Development and Testing


TasNetworks is a state-owned company which owns, operates, and maintains the electricity transmission and distribution network in Tasmania, Australia.  

TasNetwork delivers electricity to more than 295,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers across the state and facilitates the transfer of electricity between Victoria and Tasmania via Basslink, a sub-sea electricity interconnector.  The TasNetworks transmission network consists of 3350 km (2082 miles) of transmission lines, 7700 transmission support structures, 11,200 hectares of easement and 49 substations.


To support additional renewable generation and the connection of the Marinus Link Sub-Sea cable between Tasmania and the Australian mainland, TasNetworks is planning to build additional 220kV overhead transmission lines. This additional transmission network will support heavier conductors and therefore there was a requirement for two additional lattice tower families to carry the additional loading imposed by these larger conductors.

These tower families would be utilised as standard tower families in TasNetworks arsenal of transmission structures.

TasNetworks was very keen to mitigate contractual risk by partnering with a single entity with experience in all aspects of tower development including load development, tower detailing, prototype fabrication and full-scale tower testing. The risk to this work package was further exacerbated due to COVID-19 and the full-scale lockdown in place around the globe.

Groundline’s experienced transmission line team provided the one-stop shop, that understood the intricacies of tower design and the often-complex nature of tower detailing, fabrication, and testing. Our team also had experience managing remote tower fabrication and testing programmes, which proved invaluable due to COVID-19.

The Groundline design team has experience with similar projects which include multiple complicated interdependencies.


The Groundline team had already been remote and flexibly working for some time meaning that the design phase continued as normal, despite the COVID lockdowns.

Our experience in tower design and tower prototyping meant we could streamline the process for TasNetworks.  Optimising the design based on TasNetworks existing and planned transmission infrastructure, meant we were able to save TasNetworks thousands of dollars in tower steel tonnage and foundation volumes.

The next challenge was remote detailing, prototype fabrication and full-scale testing. As we were about to enter the fabrication and testing phase China went back into lockdown which meant our team could no longer enter China to witness the prototype build and testing.

Utilising our experience in tower design, fabrication, building and testing, we managed the prototyping by establishing a strict remote video link to ensure clear communications with the test site were maintained. This enabled our team to oversee the process, visually witness prototype build and then the destructive testing.


Utilising our collaborative working approach, leveraging our technical expertise and communication skills, we were able to build a strong relationship with the Tasnetworks project team and maintain our deliverables programme.

Despite the pandemic and the return to lockdown in China, Groundline delivered the final package of deliverables on time, enabling TasNetworks to tender for the complete transmission construction package and include the tower designs in full.  This was key for them in order to meet their programmed deadlines in a much wider package of infrastructure works.

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