RFI: Transmission Alternatives for Hinuera Area
Powerco has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to provide electricity supply options for Putaruru, Tirau, part of Matamata, and surrounding areas as part of its project to improve reliability of supply to the area.
Powerco has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to provide electricity supply options for Putaruru, Tirau, part of Matamata, and surrounding areas as part of its project to improve reliability
of supply to the area.
The loss of supply to the customers in this area has been a long-term issue for the consumers in the area. In the 2011-2015 period, maintenance outages lasted between six and ten hours each year. In late 2014, Powerco consulted with the local community on the quality of the existing electricity supply and proposals to improve reliability by reducing the number and length of power cuts. The overwhelming response was supportive of improving the reliability of supply.
Around 11,600 customer connections in the Matamata, Putaruru and Tirau areas supplied with electricity from the national grid via Transpower’s Hinuera substation. A single 110,000-volt line from Transpower’s Karapiro substation supplies the Hinuera substation. An outage on that line interrupts supply to the entire area and temporary reconfiguration of the network is not sufficient to restore supply to all customers. Most customers in the area have no electricity until the supply to Hinuera is restored.
The transmission projects to improve the reliability of supply at Hinuera were included in Powerco’s Customised Price Path application to the Commerce Commission approved in March 2018. Several submissions on the CPP application commented on the need to consider alternatives to transmission solutions. Powerco has taken these comments on board and for this project is formally testing the market in relation to potential transmission alternatives for this project.
The scale of the transmission alternative required, in term of capacity, the value, and the length of contract is quite unique in the New Zealand market. The transmission alternative is not a short-term deferment of a transmission investment – it is for a full substitution of an existing and firm electricity supply. As a result, a longer term contract (15 years) for a transmission alternative is expected with a forecast capacity of 36 MVA in 2021 rising to 40 MVA in 2036 (reflecting forecast load growth).
The RFI and supporting information can be found on Powerco’s website at https://www.powerco.co.nz/about-us/your-view/current-consultations/