The North Island Grid Upgrade Project will ensure New Zealand can keep up with growing electricity demand by providing a new power link into Auckland, Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley said today.
A new overhead transmission line between Whakamaru, north of Taupo, and Auckland, was officially switched on by Prime Minister John Key today, signifying the completion of the $824 million upgrade project.
“The North Island Grid Upgrade Project has provided greater electricity supply security to the upper North Island and will ensure that as cities and communities grow our electricity infrastructure will be able to meet the increase in demand,” Mr Heatley said.
“By making the grid more robust and able to manage intermittent energy such as wind power, this upgrade will also facilitate and support the development of renewable energy.
“This is one of the largest grid upgrades since 1960 and significantly increases New Zealand’s capability to not only keep electricity flowing into existing homes, but into the homes of our growing population in future years.”
Transpower has been working on the project since February 2010 and has installed the 186km overhead transmission line.
As part of the project, new sub-stations have also been built in Whakamaru, Pakuranga and Brownhill Rd in South Auckland, with the Pakuranga and Brownhill Rd stations being linked by an underground cable. The project also saw the removal of the Arapuni-Pakuranga transmission line.
Transpower is planning further significant grid investment over the next 10 years.
“The completion of the North Island Grid Upgrade Project represents a major piece of infrastructure upgrading. The completion of this project marks a significant milestone in Transpower’s long-term investment programme and in the work it is doing to meet the growing demand of electricity customers,” Mr Heatley said.