GI substation getting an upgrade

Workers begin preparing the foundations for a $10.8 million upgrade at the Green Island zone...
Workers begin preparing the foundations for a $10.8 million upgrade at the Green Island zone substation. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
The future of Green Island is electric.

The suburb’s decades-old substation is about to be supercharged with a nearly $11 million upgrade.

It is part of a more than $500 million project by Aurora Energy to upgrade its substation network around Dunedin, Central Otago, Wanaka and the Queenstown Lakes, over the next five years.

Project manager Michelle Bone said the Green Island substation was about 60 years old.

The transformers and switchgear inside the substation had reached the end of their life, prompting Aurora to replace them.

A new switch room would also be constructed.

The upgrades would accommodate growth in the suburb and allow it to provide services expected to be in high demand in the future, such as electric vehicles.

"We have taken the opportunity to increase how much electricity can be supplied from the zone substation, to ensure we can meet changing energy needs of customers.

"We are future-proofing the network to ensure we can meet customer demands," Mrs Bone said.

The substation provides power to about 4300 customers in the area, from Concord to Ocean View.

Work began on February 8 after resource consent was granted by the Otago Regional Council and is scheduled to be completed by March next year.

The work would also involve raising the substation site to help mitigate risks, such as potential flooding from the nearby Kaikorai Stream.

Aurora customers in the Green Island zone would not experience any planned power outages due to the upgrades, but some traffic management would be required, Mrs Bone said.

Breen Construction manager Lawrence Adam said work on the substation had just begun, with the ground being scraped and cleared for the foundations.

"Going forward into the future it means they’ve got the latest technology in there and it’s built to withstand earthquakes ... it’s just your normal upgrade you do with critical infrastructure, " Mr Adam said.

Currently some of the substation’s overhead cables stretched across the Kaikorai Stream towards land behind the substation, and Mr Adam said Escea Fireplace Company had been contracted to install the cables underground.