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Transpower And PowerNet Seek Input For Southland's Future Electricity Needs

Transpower and PowerNet today published a range of investment options for Murihiku Southland’s electricity networks to support electrification in the region. The businesses are seeking views from stakeholders on how these investments will allow more electricity use and new generation in the region.

Transpower General Manager Strategy and Customer Chantelle Bramley said Transpower has received a significant number of electricity generation and load connection enquiries to its network in Murihiku Southland.

“We want to enable these connections to the national grid as they are needed, while considering what investments will ensure the power system remains reliable and secure for people and businesses in Southland as the region grows,” Ms Bramley said.

“A joint approach with stakeholders allows Transpower and PowerNet to take a broader planning perspective, facilitate an optimised path for electrification and decarbonisation, and create an efficient approach to transmission and distribution network investments.”

PowerNet Chief Executive Jason Franklin said PowerNet was in a similar position, fielding a large number of enquiries from commercial customers for new connections or increased electricity supply, as well as potential new generation. Mr Franklin said it is critical for PowerNet and Transpower to coordinate investment in electricity networks to deliver customer-centric solutions.

“Murihiku Southland has substantial energy demand from industrial processes, particularly dairy and meat companies with global customer bases. Many companies are currently using coal boilers for process heat and are transitioning to electrode boilers and high temperature heat pumps as part of their decarbonisation strategy and early positioning in the market as zero emissions providers,” Mr Franklin said.

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Following initial discussions with stakeholders, Transpower and PowerNet have identified four possible tactical upgrade projects to increase local electricity network capacities and enable future electrification for local businesses and communities.

Transpower has identified two cost-efficient, short-term upgrades that can improve transmission and distribution capacity, stability and reliability. The first is a Tactical Thermal Upgrade of the Invercargill-North Makarewa circuit to increase capacity. The second is to implement special protection schemes for the 110 kV Gore-Roxburgh circuit and the 110 kV Brydone-Gore circuit to avoid overloading the lines when they carry more electricity in future.

In addition to this, PowerNet has identified two 66kV projects on its network that will increase transferability of load between North Makarewa and Invercargill GXPs, freeing up capacity in northern Southland, and providing the ability to supply increasing load in the Awarua region.

Transpower is also considering the potential future need for improvements to its transmission network and has identified two possible projects. These are to duplex the North Makarewa to Three Mile Hill line and to upgrade or develop new grid exit points in Southland locations where electricity use may grow, for example at Edendale.

“The more information we have the more efficient we can be in developing a right-sized, reliable and secure electricity network for people and businesses in Murihiku Southland,” Ms Bramley said.

Transpower and PowerNet welcome feedback and input from anyone with an interest in the development of the electricity network in the region. Visit the Murihiku Southland Electrification Development Plan page on the Transpower website to view the Tactical Options Paper and email feedback to southland@transpower.co.nz.

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