Project Progress - Ongoing
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OVERVIEW

Supporting Decarbonisation, Decentralisation and Digitalisation

Who knows what the future holds? Our crystal ball says there’ll be exciting advances in energy technology, and Powerco will be working to actively power your future.

For today, we are focused on building a network that provides you with a reliable power supply. For tomorrow, we are laying foundations to ensure our network can offer you flexibility in your energy choices.

To do this, we are monitoring how your use of the network is changing as a result of new technologies such as electric vehicles, batteries and solar.

We’re also keeping up with global changes and trends, particularly the 3Ds: digitalisation, decentralisation of the electricity supply chain, and decarbonisation.

It’s hard to predict the timing, impact and details of how changes will occur. But we know they are coming, so we need to be prepared.

Powerco subscribes to the New Zealand-specific Network Transformation Roadmap developed by the Electricity Network Association (ENA) .

It says that the network of the future will be influenced by two main factors:

  • Customer behaviour – how engaged are customers with their energy supply?
  • Technology – how much renewable electricity and how many associate edge devices are connected to the grid?

In CPP – Year One we established a dedicated Network Transformation team to plan how to get our network ready for these changes.

The team leads a range of helpful, thought-provoking initiatives. They consider scenarios and assess the associated impact on the network, they analyse emerging consumer trends, look at and develop new network and non-network solutions, and they coordinate pilot programmes and proofs of concept for new solutions.

The challenge

After almost a century, the way electricity is delivered to New Zealand customers is starting to change, it’s being impacted by;

Decarbonisation:  The challenge to reduce CO2 emissions to combat climate change.  Our main role is to encourage and accommodate carbon reduction initiatives by offering end-users, and generators the technical solutions and services this policy decision requires.

Decentralisation:  The shift from central electricity generation to distributed devices that generate, store and consume electricity eg. solar, wind, battery generation, and electric vehicles (EV).

Digitalisation:  The increase in digitally enabled sensors, data and analysis available to customers, the market and asset owners – this means you, our customers, can manage your energy demand profiles, and have choice in how you conduct your energy transactions over our network.

The solution

Powerco has one of the largest electricity networks in the country, so we need to invest wisely for your long-term needs in view of this changing landscape.

Decarbonisation:  We aim to maintain an open access network that enables customers flexibility in the way they connect to power supply – solar panels, batteries, and electric vehicles. We have a comprehensive EV programme, and recently supported Taranaki-based TuiOra, with a trial EV for one year.  The aim was to educate consumers about EVs and their benefits, assess how businesses would use an EV, and find out what impact it would have on our network.

Decentralisation:We are focused on finding smarter ways to distribute energy, and support more localised electricity generation.  In Whangamata we are currently installing the first battery system to support backup electricity supply to the community – the capacity of this battery is equivalent to that of 1 million charged Iphone batteries.

Digitalisation:  We are developing more sensors across our network – this means we are better able to respond to operational issues, and plan more efficiently for your growing needs. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology provides greater visibility of line conditions so we can invest our resource wisely.

The benefit

  • Supporting New Zealand’s ambitions to become carbon free
  • Giving customers the choice as to how they’d like their electricity delivered
  • Using technology to offer the best service to our customers now, and into the future

Milestones

Construct new substation building

The first part of the South Waikato Grid Connection project is to replace the building - which doesn’t meet earthquake resilience standards - and upgrade the equipment at the Putaruru substation.

Route for new circuit between Arapuni and Putaruru confirmed

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Planned power cut during this period

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Construction of the circuit and new transformer at Putaruru substation

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2020
2020
June 2020
July 2020

UPDATES

Find out the latest updates about this project

FAQ

We strive to minimise impact in the design and placement of network infrastructure and we’re still planning and consulting on the route for the new circuit. The circuit will be a mix of overhead lines – which you will see, and underground cable – which you won’t see. You’ll also see a new building at our Putaruru substation, replacing the ageing existing building there.

We can never guarantee supply 100% of the time, however, the number and length of outages you experience will be reduced.  

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Downloads

2020

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