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Transpower Seeks Proposals For Electricity Flexibility Services In The Upper South Island

Transpower is seeking proposals from potential providers of non-transmission solutions in the upper South Island, to help manage growing electricity use at peak times.

Transpower Executive General Manager Grid Development John Clarke said growing electricity use in the upper South Island – the area north of Twizel – means investment in transmission infrastructure is needed, and Transpower is hoping to find a non-transmission solution that can help ensure we provide a reliable supply to this important region.

“Electricity use is growing as the population grows and people and businesses move away from fossil fuels,” he said. “Traditionally, we have built more transmission infrastructure as the need grows, but there are also other smart technologies that can help us cater to growing electricity supply and demand.”

“Flexibility services, like batteries and other distributed energy resources or agreements to help reduce electricity load, could either meet the need or defer the timing of transmission upgrades including major new lines, at an overall lower cost to Transpower customers.”

Several non-transmission solutions to manage electricity within local distribution networks are already in place in New Zealand. These include ripple control schemes, which can shift the electricity use of residential hot water cylinders on a distribution network to off-peak times, and batteries that allow power to be stored and released as required. Schemes that incentivise businesses to defer tasks like irrigation away from peak times in exchange for financial compensation are also in place.

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Transpower’s Request for Proposals (RFP) to support the transmission network seeks solutions that could contribute up to an initial 63 MW of reduced electricity demand at peak times in the first year of operation, growing to provide potentially 150 MW of reduced electricity demand by 2031. The RFP asks for solutions that can be in place by 2029.

“We are very interested in hearing from potential non-transmission solution suppliers,” Mr Clarke said. “There may be a range of opportunities or technologies that can support and partner with us. For instance, if you can store or generate electricity, or shift significant power use to off-peak times, you may be able to participate in some way.”

Transpower invites interested parties to submit their proposals by 5 April 2024. The Request for Proposal document is available on the New Zealand Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS). A webinar on the RFP is planned for Thursday 29 February and more information is on the Transpower website.

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