Smart grid for Christchurch recovery


Wellington, New Zealand and Singapore — (METERING.COM) — November 20, 2012 – A smart grid roadmap is to be developed for Christchurch as part of the city’s recovery following the destruction that resulted from a series of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

The project, an initiative of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, is aimed to set out a practical course of action to cost effectively maximize the social, environmental and economic benefits of a smarter grid system in Christchurch. Further, the project will provide a guide for smarter grid development during the Christchurch rebuild, as well as findings that are of value for New Zealand and a case study that is relevant to the APEC community.

A tender for contractors for an “urban development smart grid roadmap” for Christchurch recovery was released by APEC last week.

According to the tender document, Christchurch’s electricity grid performed relatively well in the earthquakes. Temporary repairs were quickly implemented, and long term repairs are ongoing. However, the scale of built and municipal infrastructure replacement that will occur over the coming years means that investment choices made now for will have long lasting effects. In this context, how Christchurch can best develop smarter grid systems as part of the city’s infrastructure rebuild is worthy of investigation.

The project will also be a relevant contribution to phase 2 of the APEC Smart Grid Initiative (ASGI) on the smart grid roadmap, and could provide a foundation for contributing to phase 3 on smart grid test beds.

“Sitting as they do around the Pacific ‘ring of fire’, APEC member economies are well acquainted with natural disasters. This project in Christchurch will provide valuable learning for the APEC communities on the role that smart grids can play in embedding efficient and renewable energy systems into a disaster recovery process.

“The rapid pace of urban development in the APEC region also means that the findings of this study will also be relevant to major urban development projects that are part of the ongoing development process.”

Potential contractors are required to submit proposals by December 6, with selection of the successful bidder due by January 11, 2013. Then the final project report and roadmap – a ‘who needs to do what, when’ – is due 14 weeks after agreement of the contract.

A project steering group has been formed in New Zealand, with representatives from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), Transpower, the Ministry of Business Employment and Innovation (MBIE), and the Electricity Authority (EA).