Net Zero Grid Pathways: Phase One to 2035

Region Map
of New Zealand's electricity
Enough to power
electric vehicles
Enabling approx
renewable by 2025

What is the project?

Net Zero Grid Pathways covers our plans and investments on the backbone of Aotearoa’s electricity transmission grid to meet the challenges we face in enabling the electrification of the economy and meeting our nation’s decarbonisation targets. This includes connecting new renewable generation and maintaining a secure and reliable supply of electricity.

It has two phases - enhancing the existing grid backbone to 2035, and the likely need for a larger grid backbone with new interconnections beyond 2035.

When we started this work, our focus was on enabling the wider transmission of the renewable energy used by New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter at Tiwai Point, originally tipped for closure in mid 2021. In March 2021 we expanded our focus to include addressing how we would enable new renewables and electrification across all of Aotearoa out to 2035 through developments in the grid backbone.

We plan to take a least regrets approach to identifying the range of upgrade projects needed on the grid. To do this we need industry and customer input. Transpower is only one link in the electricity delivery chain and the most efficient pathway will only be achieved if we can assist in creating a ‘joined up’ view of grid needs with our industry partners.


Latest Updates

View the latest Project News and related information here

May 2021:

Further to the earlier Transpower consultation on variations to EDGS 2019, we are now seeking additional feedback from all generation investors on the supply side generation scenarios, specifically around new wind and solar generation.

This consultation is open until 5:00pm, Friday 11 June 2021

Read more - Consultation to prioritise the enablement of new wind and solar generation.

March 2021: 

An Industry Webinar was held on 22 March to update the conversation around the Net Zero Grid Pathways initiatives, in the context of recent generation announcements and the still uncertain future of the aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point.

View the webinar recording

What's underway?

Scenario Development

Industry input into our work is vital. We have been engaging with industry on supply and demand scenarios and our consultation process as we identify what is required and prepare submissions for approval by the Commerce Commission.

Clutha Upper-Waitaki Lines Project

In the immediate-term, Transpower has committed to deliver the Clutha Upper Waitaki Lines Project (CUWLP) by May 2022. The project is set to deliver benefits in the order of $100m per year by enabling low-cost renewable electricity generated in the lower South Island to be transported north.  For more information visit the CUWLP project page here.

System Operator Investigations

In our role as system operator we are always looking at changes in system conditions to ensure that we can continue to operate the New Zealand power system securely and meet our Principal Performance Obligations. 

During this period of change the system operator will continue to provide its independent view on system security to the industry, including leading up to and during significant outages such as those associated with CUWLP. As we complete our studies, we will release them to the linked web page. Where appropriate Customer Advice Notices (CANs) and teleconferences will be used to communicate our study findings and views on system security to industry.

What's next?

Least regrets tactical investments

Our work to date has identified economically viable, smaller scale, least regrets investments that could be implemented within five years. These are needed in all scenarios, deliver high economic benefit for a relatively low cost and can be delivered quickly. Read our April update here for a list of those investments

In addition, we want to work with you to confirm the need and scope, then plan and seek approval for larger projects to 2035.

Further consultation on Electricity Demand and Generation Scenarios

We need to understand the general location and timing of new generation Only then can we deliver on our customers’ connection needs by adopting a  ‘least regrets’ approach to investment. We plan to issue a questionnaire in the coming weeks to seek your views on the location and timing of new renewable generation projects and support us to finalise our scenarios in June 2021.

Consultation on HVDC Long List Options

We plan to consult on the long list of options for increasing the HVDC capacity in August 2021.

Brunswick Stratford 220kV

We plan to consult on our shortlist of options in September-October 2021 and submit our application to the Commerce Commission in November-December.

Options for Batteries and other Transmission Alternatives to meet NZGP project needs

Later in 2021 we will seek interest in the options for non-transmission solutions that could be viable alternative and reduce the scale of work required on the grid backbone.