Whangamata Central Project trials cutting edge technology to support local businesses

Electricity distributor Powerco has unveiled plans for its Whangamata Central project, a multi-million dollar trial of cutting edge electricity technology, to support the thriving coastal settlement of Whangamata.

Powerco Chief Executive Nigel Barbour said the Company would this year install a grid scale battery back-up system, paired with a large scale generator and bespoke network switching system, all designed to support supply of electricity to the Whangamata CBD in the event of a power cut on the 33,000 volt line supplying the town.

"Powerco is committed to being a reliable partner and the Whangamata Central system will allow us to test grid scale battery technology on our network in a way which supports the people and businesses of Whangamata."

"This is an exciting trial for Powerco and our expectation is that, once commissioned, Whangamata Central will significantly reduce the level of disruption to Whangamata CBD properties of any unplanned powercuts on the 33,000 volt line from Waihi and provide opportunities for further network innovation."

The Story with Maps

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Estimated Construction Timeline

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 November – Commissioning and testing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where will the Whangamata Central system be built?

The Whangamata Central system has been manufactured overseas with the battery manufactured by LG Chem and the generator manufactured by Caterpillar and will be located at Powerco’s Whangamata substation just south of the town.

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

How can I find out if my house or business will be supplied by the system?

Click on the Story with Maps above to access the detailed map of areas which will be supplied by the system.

Who will be undertaking the construction of this project?

Northpower will be undertaking construction of the project under contract from Electropar.

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 33,000 volt 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

Contact us

For more information email whangamata@powerco.co.nz