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National Winter Group report released

21 February 2008

National Winter Group report released

The National Winter Group (NWG) has today released their updated report on the ability of the power system to meet peak winter demand. The NWG group is an industry participant group who meet annually to determine the ability of the power system to meet the highest peaks of electricity demand over winter. This is a separate process than that run by the Electricity Commission to monitor the ‘dry year’ risk.

According to Transpower Chief Executive Patrick Strange “the NWG report shows that the power system should be able to respond to the peaks this winter which is positive.” “Given the unexpected closure of a major generating plant in New Plymouth earlier this year, it is prudent for us to plan ahead for the winter as this is when demand for electricity tends to be at its highest. The overall New Zealand wide peak on the power system usually occurs sometime in June or July, between 5:30pm to 6:00pm on a cold weekday evening. The NWG has focused on meeting that demand during those short periods.

“The report outlines that the power system should manage without HVDC Pole 1 which is encouraging. However, we are still working towards returning half of Pole 1 to service, in a limited mode of operation, and are confident that we will be able to achieve this. It is prudent for us to plan for the ‘what ifs’ and returning a half pole to service would give the system additional capacity should it be needed.” The report also outlines a number of commercial demand side management initiatives that could be undertaken in preparation for winter. “The NWG have recommended a number of positive demand side management initiatives that could be put in place prior to winter 2008 to assist at peak times.

We believe that this would be good practice and will ensure that these are progressed.” The NWG report does not address the current low lake levels issue which needs to be considered separately. Mr Strange said that whether or not Pole 1 is in service has no bearing on the management of the current drought issues, which has resulted in lower than average lake levels. “The industry has worked very well together to ensure that the recent North Island generation issues were managed appropriately, and we will now work together in addressing the separate issue of low lake levels going into winter.

We will continue to keep the public informed about the situation as we move forward,” he said.

The NWG report can be downloaded from


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