Electricity use in New Zealand is increasing and is expected to increase by around 70% by 2050. New renewable generation will soon connect to the grid around Wairakei and Hawke’s Bay. New series reactor at Atiamuri commissioned last month provides a smarter use of existing capacity in the power transmission lines connecting between Wairkei and Whakamaru. The device at Hamilton substation is one of two planned voltage stability devices at a combined cost of $115m.
Original Press Release:
June 6 -- Transpower New Zealand Limited issued the following news release:
Transpower has commissioned the second of two smart investments as part of its commitment to ensuring the national grid will continue to provide safe, reliable, low-cost power to New Zealand electricity consumers.
This week, a voltage stability device was connected to the grid at the Hamilton substation, and last month a series reactor was commissioned at Atiamuri ahead of new renewable generation which will soon connect to the grid around Wairakei and Hawke’s Bay.
Transpower’s General Manager Grid Development John Clarke commented on the projects.
“These projects are examples of the responsive and coordinated approach to infrastructure investment that Aotearoa New Zealand needs right now. Electricity use in New Zealand is increasing and is expected to increase by around 70% by 2050. Increased demand and new renewable generation displacing older thermal generation can require more grid capacity to provide a reliable supply without constraints in specific locations.
“Transpower’s investments to get more out of our existing infrastructure are a critical part of both addressing increasing electricity use and achieving a decarbonised economy which relies on renewable electricity to fuel a low-emissions way of life.
Voltage stability challenge resolved for electricity System Operator at the Hamilton substation
Managing voltage stability is a known challenge for power grids where the volume of electricity being transported increases or where electricity is being transported over long distances.
Addressing voltage stability means the full capacity of transmission lines can be utilised during times of high demand and eases operational challenges during times of low demand, such as at night and in summer.
The device at Hamilton substation, which came in under budget and on time, is one of two planned voltage stability devices at a combined cost of $115m, the other of which was announced for the Otahuhu substation in Auckland by Transpower in January. Transpower is working with Hitachi Energy, as the manufacturer, to install and commission these devices.
Unlocking more capacity on the grid around Wairakei
The new series reactor at Atiamuri commissioned last month provides a smarter use of existing capacity in the power transmission lines connecting between Wairakei and Whakamaru.
Up to 600 MW (about the same as Wellington City’s peak winter demand) is unlocked through this relatively simple, $6m investment. About 330 MW of that capacity will soon be taken up by new renewable generation connecting at Tauhara (north of Taupo), and Harapaki (Hawke’s Bay).
Transpower is committed to ensuring the national grid continues its legacy of efficiently bringing electricity from where it is made to where it is used, powering our homes and businesses through smart, cost-effective technologies and solutions.
Transpower owns and operates the national grid, an electricity lifeline which runs the full length of New Zealand from Kaikohe to Bluff. We move electricity from where it is made to where it is needed, enabling local lines companies to connect millions of homes and businesses all around the motu. As the system operator we also run the electricity market, balancing supply and demand 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to keep the power flowing up and down Aotearoa.
 Total costs are expected to be $60m (Hamilton) and $55m (Otahuhu). This is a significant saving against the total allowance of $144m originally provided by the Commerce Commission.
 See media release of 1 Feb 2023, Second stage of $144m grid project brought forward in response to electricity demand increases.
[Category: Power, Renewable Electricity, Independent Power and Renewable Electricity Producers, Capital Investment]
Source: Transpower New Zealand Limited