Transpower issued an invitation to comment on a proposal to progress the remaining projects to complete the Clutha Upper Waitaki Lines Project (CUWLP) in May 2020.
In the CUWLP invitation to comment document Transpower noted there were a number of factors in seeking industry view on whether to proceed with the project at this time. They include:
- The lead time lag to complete the grid upgrade should the Tiwai Aluminium Smelter close or materially reduce demand.
- That current transmission constraints disincentivise any potential renewable generation developments in the lower South Island.
- Increasing the transmission capacity for southward power flow during periods where there is low generation in the Otago–Southland region.
- That two CUWLP sections are ready to be developed, with a pre-set regulatory pathway, which would support New Zealand’s infrastructure investment economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NZWEA in its submission supported proceeding with the project and noted that there were two consented wind farms with a total capacity of 400 MW in the Otago / Southland regions that would benefit from the transmission upgrade. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in their May 2020 Wind generation Stack Update also noted there was over 2,125 MW of new generation in the region.
The Association’s submission can be viewed below: