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NZ gets inter-island link

Siemens has been awarded a major contract by Transpower NZ Limited to supply two high- voltage direct-current (HVDC) converter stations for the inter-island HVDC Pole 3 project, which electrically links the North and South islands of New Zealand. The Pole 3 project will increase the capacity of the existing HVDC link and improve the robustness of the power supply between the North and South islands. The new high-voltage direct current link will ensure a reliable power supply for New Zealand.

The project involves replacing the 44-year-old Pole 1 equipment at Haywards substation, north of Wellington, and fitting Benmore substation in the South Island with new, modern thyristor valve units. The project will increase the capacity of the overall HVDC link to 1000MW in 2012 and 1200MW in 2014.

The Pole 3 project is worth up to $672 million NZD. The Siemens’ contract is the largest that will be awarded during the Pole 3 project, and Siemens will construct the converter stations at each end of the link, expand the 220 kV switchyards at both substations and build the new voltage support equipment at Haywards substation.

The contract includes the delivery and installation of the HVDC converter stations on a turnkey basis, as well as a Static Var Compensator based on the latest state of the art technology SVC PLUS™. Siemens will also replace third-party control equipment for the existing Pole 2 with the latest control system generation SIMATIC TDC. Furthermore, Siemens will supply core components such as thyristor valves, converter transformers, smoothing reactors, protection and control systems and the AC and DC filters.

Transpower chief executive Patrick Strange said that the contract was a significant milestone for the project, and will enable construction of the project to start shortly.

“We are pleased to announce Siemens as our construction partner on this project. We have worked with Siemens on several large transmission projects before and are confident of their capability and experi ence to deliver this important project on time and to budget,” he said.

Power Transmission Division chief executive officer, Dr Udo Niehage, says the project follows several other large HVDC projects that Siemens has undertaken in the region.

“Siemens is the market leader in HVDC and Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems (FACTS) in Australia and New Zealand. This contract follows several other large projects undertaken by Siemens in New Zealand and we are very proud to support Transpower in this new project,” Niehage said.

Siemens New Zealand chief executive Paul Ravlich said that achievement of the Pole 3 contract was further testament to Siemens’ world-leading technologies expertise in the energy sphere.

“We have extensive global experience in constructing HVDC systems and believe that our specialist knowledge and technology will be of great value to Transpower and the delivery of the Pole 3 project,” he said.

The new HVDC transmission link is the second system that Siemens is building in the region. The first high-voltage direct-current transmission route was the Basslink interconnector, which links the electricity grid of mainland Australia with the electricity grid of Tasmania.

Site works, including civil and seismic strengthening works at Haywards, began early this year, and Siemens began the major construction works in March this year.

[Angelo Iacono is Siemens’ business development manager, Transmission Solutions.

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