Contracting Capabilities

Northpower provides contracting services across the North Island including engineering, infrastructure management and maintenance and construction.

Working towards 100% renewable energy goals

Location: Wairakei
Completion date: April 2023
Project partners: Transpower
Key people involved: Patrick Russell (Supervisor) and Avikash Lal (Technician)

100% renewable electricity generation by 2035

In alignment with the New Zealand Government’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable electricity generation by 2035, Transpower identified the need to address transport capacity issues on the 220kV grid backbone between Wairakei (WRK) and Whakamaru (WKM). Known as the Wairakei Ring, this area required enhancements to accommodate new generation projects.

Northpower was awarded the contract to deliver the series reactor project at the Atiamuri (ATI) substation to increase transport capacity without compromising safety. The project involved installing a series reactor on the ATI-OHK-1 circuit at ATI to increase the transport capacity of the Wairakei Ring by approximately 500 to 600 MW, improving flow distribution between the WRK-WKM A line and WRK-WKM C line.

The project was undertaken in three stages. Stage 1 involved building a new switchyard, installing primary equipment such as gantries and reactor stands. Stage 2 required installation of the reactors and Stage 3 saw the implementation of required secondary systems changes for connection and commissioning of the reactor. These stages were aligned with the Tauhara and Harapaki grid connection projects which required the ATI reactor to be fully operational before these sites could have been connected to the new Harapaki wind and Tauhara geothermal power stations.

However, the project faced significant challenges, with material shortages and unforeseen natural events causing major delays in the projected commissioning dates. The reactor arrival was delayed by eight months, and floods in Napier further impacted the project timeline.
Despite these challenges, the project team demonstrated true Northpower resilience and dedication to successfully deliver the series reactors at Transpower’s Atiamuri substation. The final pieces were put together, and the reactors were successfully commissioned on April 18th 2023, following a karakia ceremony at the site for the outage.

The completion of the project allows Transpower to implement necessary changes to the Wairakei ring, enabling successful connection of new renewable generation sites such as the Tauhara Geothermal and Harapaki Wind farms by the end of June 2023.