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More power to Auckland and beyond

More power to Auckland and beyond

Auckland City Council’s Works Committee today granted a property right for Transpower New Zealand Ltd, on behalf of the Powerlinks Project, to install two underground 220kV power circuits from the Hobson St substation along Fanshawe St, through the Beaumont St intersection and off into Westhaven Drive.

The Powerlinks Project, comprising three cables in each circuit, involves an alliance of Transpower New Zealand Ltd, United Networks Ltd and Vector Ltd.

This is part of a major project to address the greater Auckland region's longer term transmission requirements, and enhance the security and reliability of electricity supply to the region, Northland and the far north.

The project in its entirety provides for new underground supply cables from the Penrose to Albany substations via Fanshawe St, Westhaven Drive, the Harbour Bridge, the Northern Motorway to Wairau Rd, then through a United Network's easement to the Albany substation.

While other route options were considered, the one proposed provides the best option between Hobson Street and North Shore. The total project cost using this route is more than $300 million.

This is the first time in New Zealand that 220kV cables will be laid underground as part of the national transmission grid. The cables will be specially manufactured and tested overseas before shipment to New Zealand.

To ensure cable security, Council will show the cable circuit locations on its Geographic Information System (GIS), and will advise all contractors applying for Road Opening Notices and seeking to carry out streetworks in Fanshawe St of the high voltage cables. This will activate a procedure whereby Council notifies Transpower of the work to be done so Transpower personnel or its contractors can supervise the work.

According to Works Committee chair Councillor Bill Christian, any project that requires the digging up of a major traffic access route to the inner city gives Council cause for concern. For this reason, careful consideration has been given to the timing of the installation.

To limit as much as possible the disruptive effects of the work, the ducts for each of the two circuits will be installed separately over a six-week period, working 8 hours a day/ 7 days a week, not in peak traffic times. A possible timetable for installation of circuit one’s ducts is the six-week period immediately after Christmas 2003/04, with circuit two’s ducts following in 2005/06.

“In the overall scheme of things, these are relatively short-term effects, and the entire project needs to be seen from a long-term perspective and the potential impact in commercial terms for the region and country if the supply of electricity is not secure and reliable,” says Bill Christian.

In recognition of the general inconvenience and disruption that will result from the works, Transpower will make a payment to Council of $500,000 when it commissions the first of the circuits.

Before the works can start, Transpower will need to obtain the necessary consents under the Resource Management Act. In addition, a road opening consent issued by council will need to be obtained. The road opening notice covers in detail conditions for traffic management and working hours.

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