Powerco welcomes a Battery Energy Storage System to provide stand by power in Whangamata

Whangamata Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) has cutting edge technology to support the thriving Central Business District (CBD) of the coastal community of Whangamata.  

To cater for the changing energy environment and deliver future energy needs, we needed a state-of-the-art solution, to reinforce the resilience of the network to support the local community’s requirements.

Whangamata is supplied by a single 33kV line that runs through some rugged terrain from Waihi and historically it has experienced damage from severe weather, tree felling and a number of other asset failures.

When damage occurs to the line, all power is cut to more than 5,700 properties.  We also understand that many of the businesses in Whangamata generate 80 to 90 percent of their income over the holiday season and so if we can minimise the risk and duration of power cuts, we can minimise any adverse economic impact to the area and community.

Powerco’s innovative solution is,

BESS is a large grid scale battery paired with a state of the art bespoke generator.  This battery cuts in automatically when the incoming 33kV power supply from Waihi is lost.

BESS will automatically power up if there is a cut to the main electricity to rapidly restore electricity supply to around 1,000 properties in the Whangamata CBD and continue to supply them while our field staff locate and repair the damage to the network.  

The battery is capable of supplying the CBD area during peak business hours for a period of 1-2 hours and when paired with the generator, could maintain that supply indefinitely as long as the diesel tank is kept fuelled. 

In addition, we have embarked on an aggressive tree-pruning programme on the main 33kV line from Waihi to further reduce the possibility of line fail.

Please click here to view the map below to see the proposed coverage area.


Phase one - April to June
Earthworks and electrical enabling works.

Phase two - July to September
Generator and fuel tank installation, Portacom and switchgear installation, transformer, battery and inverter installation, related cable works.

Phase three - October to December
Commissioning and testing. The project is on track to be completed prior to Christmas 2019.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find out if my house or business will be supplied by the system?
Click on the map above to see the proposed coverage area.

If there is a power cut what should I do?
If power does go out this could be either localised or on the main line from Waihi.  Please contact your electricity supplier in the first instance and you can also visit our fault information page

Is there anything I can do to help?
If you can reduce energy consumption when the main network supply is unavailable, the battery and generator system has the capability of extending back-up supply to more properties.

What are the other applications the Whangamata Central system can be used for?
The system has been developed in a way that will allow it to assist with voltage stabilisation to improve the quality of supply to Whangamata. Further enhancements are planned once the system is commissioned which may allow an extension of the number of properties supplied by the system during a power cut at times of low electricity demand. 

How does the system work?
The system is automated and, in the event of a power cut on the 33kV line from Waihi, is expected to restore electricity supply to customers in the CBD in less than one minute via the battery. Once the battery is activated the generator will also activate, go through a warming up period and then progressively pick up the load of CBD customers until such time as the fault on the network is located and repaired.

How long can the generator run without refuelling?
20 hours

What is the capacity of the battery and generator?
The battery has a capacity of 2MWh and the generator has a capacity of 2.5MVA 

Contact us

For more information email customerexperience@powerco.co.nz

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