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Preferred option for Wairakei to Whakamaru

Media release
30 October 2008

Preferred option for Wairakei to Whakamaru transmission reinforcement announced

Transpower today announced its preferred option for reinforcing its transmission network between Wairakei and Whakamaru following an initial application of the regulatory Grid Investment Test to a number of short-listed options.

The preferred option at this stage is a new double circuit 220 kV line connecting directly from Wairakei to Whakamaru. This line would approximately parallel the existing single circuit Wairakei to Whakamaru ‘B’ line which would be decommissioned and removed. No further work would be required on the remaining ‘A’ line until about 2030. Transpower will now consult further on its provisional results with interested parties, before finalising a proposal and submitting to the Electricity Commission for approval before the end of the year.

The transmission upgrades are needed to help connect 1000 MW or more of new geothermal generation in the region that is either planned or underway.

Over September, Transpower wrote to and sought the views of the local community on the upgrade options, and their feedback has helped populate a preliminary Social Impact Report that was input into the Grid Investment Test.

General Manager Grid Development Tim George said that the feedback from the community had been a constructive, informative and useful input into the process to date.

“While the test is a national cost/benefit economic assessment, the feedback helped in identifying the potential issues from a community perspective. It also helped in improving our understanding of where mitigation might be needed."

“A common theme from the feedback was a view to having a long-term solution rather than a short-term fix, and, not unexpectedly, the economics on the options back that as a sensible move too."

Transpower has written to the 1200 or so households within the affected regions, updating them on the preferred option at this stage and inviting them to a ‘Drop-in’ Centre on 13/14 November to learn more about the process by which the preferred option was selected, and ask any questions of the attending Transpower people on the project to date.

Consultation on Transpower’s application of the Grid Investment Test to the short-listed options continues until 19 November 2008. The consultation documents and further information on the project can be found at

Drop-in centre details

When: 13 November (midday to 8pm) and 14 November (9.30am to 1pm)

Where: Taupo Library (Story Place)


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