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OVERVIEW

Click here to view the interactive map showing coverage area.

Whangamata BESS Project

Whangamata’s electricity is supplied by a single 33,000-volt line running through some rugged terrain from Waihi.

Historically it has experienced damage from severe weather, tree felling and several other asset failures. When the line is damaged, power is cut to more than 5,700 properties. Many of these are businesses. Reducing the risk and duration of power cuts minimises any adverse economic impact to the area and community.

To provide a more secure supply to our Whangamata customers, we installed a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) grid-scale battery back-up system. In the event of a power outage, this will restore electricity supply to around 1,000 properties in the Whangamata CBD while our field staff locate and repair the damage to the network.

Thank you to the Whangamata community for your participation in this project, especially the business community including Enterprise Whangamata.

The challenge

Whangamata’s power is supplied by a single 33kV line running from Waihi. When damage occurs to this line, power is cut to more than 5700 properties.

The solution

We installed a BESS grid-scale battery back-up system, paired with a large-scale generator and bespoke network switching system.  

The system is automated so that, in the event of a power cut on the 33kV line, it will restore electricity supply to customers in the CBD in less than one minute via the battery. Once the battery is activated, the generator will also activate, progressively picking up a load of around 1,000 CBD customers while the fault on the network is located and repaired.

The battery is capable of supplying the CBD area during peak business hours for a period of 1-2 hours. When paired with the generator, it could maintain that supply indefinitely as long as the diesel tank is kept fuelled. 

In addition, we have embarked on an aggressive tree-pruning programme on the main 33kV line from Waihi to reduce the possibility of line fail.

The benefit

Customers in the Whangamata CBD have a more secure supply, and a back-up power supply during outages, thereby minimising disruption during peak business periods.

Whangamata is receiving a ‘first’ – this is our first large scale microgrid project on the Powerco network. This is also a renewable energy network

We learned a lot during this project and are working with others in the industry to share our knowledge.

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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