Siemens wins New Zealand inter-island connection contract

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 1000 MW in 2012 and 1200 MW in 2014.

The Pole 3 project is worth up to NZD $672 million. The Siemens’ contract is the largest that will be awarded during the Pole 3 project. 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.

Transpower chief executive, Patrick Strange said that the award of 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 experience to deliver this important project on time and to budget,” Mr Strange said.

The project follows several other large HVDC projects that Siemens have undertaken in the region. 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.