Lodestone Energy – Utility scale distributed generation (DG)

Project outline

With the drive to decarbonise and transition to a sustainable energy future, we’ve been assisting the developers of solar farms on our electricity footprint to connect to our distribution network.

Building on our experience with connecting New Zealand’s original largest, 2.1MW Sunergise solar farm in South Taranaki, (commissioned mid-2021 with 5,800 photovoltaic (PV) panels), we’re working with Lodestone Energy on its 51GWh development, which will have up to 60,000 PV panels, south of Whitianga.

Dubbed Lodestone Five, the utility scale DG solar operation will connect to our electricity network, with the ability to generate renewable power from the sun to approximately 7,500 homes and businesses on the Coromandel Peninsula.


Project outcomes

We’ve been working in partnership with Lodestone since early 2021 – right from the initial planning and application stages, providing the commercial, engineering and technical expertise required to connect utility scale DG to the electricity distribution network.

Lodestone’s Whitianga solar farm development is currently in the detailed design stage (late 2023).

The planned scope of Powerco works to connect the Lodestone solar farm includes:

  • Establishing a new 66kV switching station at the Lodestone site
  • New 66kV overhead line to connect to existing 66kV lines heading to Whitianga substation
  • New 66kV underground cable to connect to existing 66kV line coming from Coroglen
  • A 66kV to 33kV transformer to allow connection to Lodestone’s 33kV solar farm design 
  • Space on-site to support future Powerco upgrades to the Coromandel electricity network


Commercial considerations

As this bespoke greenfield development benefits both Lodestone Energy and Powerco (by enabling future increased network capability and security) a pro rata allocation of costs has been agreed to.


Energy solutions

We have a dedicated team that takes care of customers requiring a bespoke solution for larger, more complex projects.
This team of energy experts works alongside customers and, in collaboration with Powerco’s engineering, design and operational teams, explores connection options to find the best energy solution.
A member of the Energy Solutions team, our Large-Scale Distributed Generation Manager solely looks after utility DG applications from start to finish.
In the case of Lodestone, we had a small group of specialists that played a pivotal role in facilitating the optimum outcome for both Lodestone and Powerco. The prompt establishment of a project team, early engagement of a project manager and project awareness at higher management levels within Powerco, were key to a successful outcome. It set the tone for both parties to engage in a transparent and collaborative way, where Powerco saw the opportunity to enable Lodestone’s solution, as well as secure future line route opportunities.


Project location

Maps of Coromandel Peninsula