Transpower launches smart grid project in New Zealand’s North Island


Patrick Strange,
Chief Executive,
Wellington, New Zealand — (METERING.COM) — September 2, 2010 – New Zealand’s transmission grid owner Transpower has initiated discussions with interested parties on a multi-million dollar demand side initiative in the upper North Island to help defer investment in new assets.

The project, to which approximately NZ$10 million (US$7 million) initial funding has been allocated, is part of the NZ$110 million (US$78 million) Upper North Island Dynamic Reactive Support program aimed at bringing greater reliability in the region, which was approved by the Electricity Commission last month.

“We are looking for interruptible load we can reduce temporarily under severe conditions, particularly during very hot summer days in the region,” said Transpower chief executive, Patrick Strange. “Businesses will be paid to participate, and agree that their non-essential electricity usage can be reduced automatically under certain conditions.”

The initiative will allow Transpower to defer investment in new assets, as well as provide valuable headroom to meet demand during construction of existing infrastructure upgrades.

Further, the initiative will provide funding for some of the intelligence the grid will progressively need to meet New Zealanders’ electricity requirements in the future, leading to an environment where consumers will have greater control over domestic consumption.

Transpower recently conducted a successful limited trial of similar technology in the South Island. However, the upper North Island project is a more advanced initiative.

In addition to the demand side project, the Upper North Island Dynamic Reactive Support program will include the installation of two static Var compensators, one each in Auckland and Northland in 2013 and 2014 respectively, a reactive power controller for the region, and system monitoring equipment.