Agreement on lines

Graham Clark
Graham Clark
Network Waitaki and the Waitaki District Council agree that the most expensive option for upgrading the electricity supply to North Otago is the best way of meeting future demand.

Transpower had put up for community discussion three options to improve the reliability of electricity supply in North Otago, and the council and North Otago lines company got together to make sure they were singing the same song.

Last week, the council decided to make a submission to Transpower supporting option 3.

That involves a new 110kV regional supply line from Livingstone to Network Waitaki's Weston substation and constructing a switching station at Glenavy to connect circuits between Timaru, Oamaru and Waitaki dam.

The "new regional supply line" option is the most expensive and does bring problems, particularly identifying a route and getting the agreement of landowners.

The "basic upgrade option" was to install new equipment at the Oamaru substation and build a switching station at Glenavy, while the next "secure upgrade option" was to duplex the line between Waitaki and Bell's Pond (next to the Waitaki River), put new higher capacity conductors on the Glenavy to Oamaru line, thermally upgrade the line from Bell's Pond to Glenavy, and the new Glenavy switching station.

The council chief executive, Michael Ross, said Network Waitaki had indicated its preference was for the new regional supply line.

Network Waitaki chief executive Graham Clark said the upgrade should not be a "band aid" approach, but provide a long-term solution and maintain the security of supply the region at present enjoyed.

Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton said the new line option would better meet future demand and growth, including for the Holcim (New Zealand) proposed cement plant near Weston.

However, Cr Jim Hopkins sounded a note of warning about that option, particularly the route and view of landowners. Based on the history between Transpower and landowners, he could see "a protracted wrangle" over the route.

Transpower needed to identify two or more possible routes as soon as possible for consultation with landowners.

Cr Peter Garvan said reliability of supply was crucial to existing and new industries.


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