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Half HVDC Pole 1 available for winter

Media release
12 March 2008

Half HVDC Pole 1 available for winter

Transpower New Zealand announced today that the mitigations needed to return a half pole 1 of the HVDC inter island link to service will be completed prior to winter.

Half of Pole 1 will be available for service at times of peak demand during winter should it be needed.

Half of the Pole 1 assets have been decommissioned and retired from service. The remaining half pole will only be used when needed and will only run in a northwards direction. This, together with other mitigation actions, enables the half pole to be run safely.

Full details around the limited mode of operation for the half pole will be communicated to the industry shortly.

Transpower’s Chief Executive Patrick Strange said that returning a half pole 1 to service will provide greater confidence in meeting peak demand this winter. However, he cautioned that it would have no effect on any low lake levels situation.

“The National Winter Group report released last month outlined that the power system should manage without the HVDC Pole 1 this coming winter which was encouraging. However, as owner and operator of New Zealand’s National Grid it is prudent for us to plan for the ‘what ifs’ and returning a half pole to service will give the system additional capacity should it be needed."

“We are pleased that we will be able to complete all the mitigations prior to winter to safely return a half pole to service. By running the half pole in a northwards direction, we put less stress on the equipment but can achieve a high rate of performance; close to the same performance we would have achieved if the entire Pole 1 was in use. Our insurers have also reinsured the equipment and are comfortable with its new mode of operation."

“Transpower still considers that a complete replacement option of Pole 1 is the best long-term solution and we are working as quickly as possible to progress this. We are presently consulting on the economic analysis that shows a replacement will provide significant market benefits. Feedback from the consultation will help ensure that this analysis is reasonably applied and the best long-term solution is proposed."

“We are on track to submit a replacement proposal to the Electricity Commission for approval in May,” he said.


ENDS

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