Involves building a new 220kV double-circuit transmission line

Transpower, which maintains the national electricity grid for New Zealand, has welcomed the country’s Electricity Commission’s final decision to approve the Wairakei Ring Reinforcement project.

The proposed project, worth up to NZD141m, involves building a new 220kV double-circuit transmission line, which is along a similar route between Wairakei and Whakamaru, by 2013; and removing the existing Wairakei to Whakamaru B line (running along Poihipi Road).

The new line will help facilitate the connection of up to 1,000MW of new generation expected in the region over the next five to seven years.

Patrick Strange, CEO of Transpower, said: It has been a test case for us. We wanted to be more open with the community on the need for the investment and the options that we were considering at an earlier stage than we have achieved in other projects.

This meant letting people know what we were doing at each step of the way and getting their feedback to help us make a final decision on what form that investment would take. We have now adopted the same approach for similar projects that we have on our books.