Innovative electricity choice for remote consumers

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A remote farm located up the Whanganui River Valley is the first in the country to trial an innovative electricity supply system that is not reliant on power lines.

BASEPOWER, a division of Powerco, has connected a standalone power unit to a farm workers’ house and shearing shed at Papahaua Station, near Matahiwi. The station is owned by the Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation.


The site’s hill country location and aging power lines, which were due for replacement, made it ideal to demonstrate the technology.   


The integrated system is powered by solar panels, alleviating the need for lines which can be expensive to replace and are vulnerable to storms, landslips and trees.


The units, which feature batteries for energy storage and back up generators, can be powered by the sun, water or wind. They have the capacity to store between 720 and 1100 ampere hours of energy or approximately 3-5 times the daily electricity use of a reasonably energy efficient home.


Powerco Business Development Manager Jamie Silk said consumers in isolated areas could now access a convenient, high quality, reliable power supply without the risks associated with remote power lines.


BASEPOWERhas trialled standalone power system components at a remote North Island sheep station. The Whanganui consumer is the first to have the fully integrated, modular system.


Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation Chairman Dana Blackburn said they were delighted to host the new technology to ensure a continued, reliable supply of electricity to a remote part of Papahaua Station. 


“Beyond that, its success will provide an opportunity for us to apply the system to other remote areas where electricity facilitates our land development plans and the strategic location of new infrastructure including staff housing. We hope other farmers in the region take an interest and we would be happy to assist.”        

A demonstration day is being held today (29 March) at Papahaua Station to showcase the unit.


Powerco is New Zealand’s second largest electricity and gas distribution utility with around 420,000 consumers connected to its networks. Powerco’s electricity networks are in Western Bay of Plenty, Thames, Coromandel, Eastern and Southern Waikato, Taranaki, Wanganui, Rangitikei, Manawatu and the Wairarapa. Its gas pipeline networks are in Taranaki, Hutt Valley, Porirua, Wellington, Horowhenua, Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay.



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