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Transpower to continue Clutha Upper Waitaki Lines Project

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Transpower New Zealand today announced that it will continue with the remainder of the Clutha Upper Waitaki Lines Project at an estimated cost of $97 million following consultation with industry over the last month.

Enabling works for the remaining sections of line (between Cromwell and Twizel and Roxburgh and Livingstone) were initially recommenced earlier this year following agreements with Contact and Meridian in December 2019 under which they would fund up to $10 million to commence enabling works. Their investment comes to an end at 30 June, and Transpower commenced consultation with the industry to get their views on whether to progress the remaining work.

Chief Executive, Alison Andrew said that while industry consultation results were mixed, Transpower considers completing the remaining sections of CUWLP now brings a number of benefits.

"The particular benefits we see are being able to avoid transmission constraints following a reduction or closure of Tiwai before our upgrades can be completed. In addition, some supporting submissions had detailed analysis suggesting the dispatch benefits in Transpower’s analysis were being understated even without a reduction or closure of Tiwai.

"Investing in the remaining sections of CUWLP has the potential to enable further renewable generation developments in the region, which would enhance New Zealand’s goal of increased electrification as a key part of the transition to a low emissions economy.

"We also see that continuing this work in our current Covid-affected environment, would potentially bring forward other broader economic benefits related to keeping New Zealand’s economy moving.

"Transpower estimates around $80 million of the $97 million project costs would be spent in New Zealand - on labour, concrete, accommodation, management and design, with the remainder on the high voltage equipment (conductor, insulators) from overseas needed to complete the project."

While work on the ground is currently constrained by the onset of colder winter weather, the decision to continue will see crews restarting the project in spring, with a view to completing the project by winter 2023.

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