New to connecting in New Zealand

With an islanded but small power system, there are unique considerations to take into account for whatever type of connection your are considering in New Zealand.

Where can I go for information on New Zealand's electricity industry?

Electricity in New Zealand from the Electricity Authority provides a high-level overview of the industry and explains each participant's role. You'll learn here how Transpower (a state-owned entity) is funded and how the market rules ensure a level playing field for participants. The Electricity Industry Code of Participation sets out the terms of engaging in the Electricity Market including the Transmission Pricing Methodology and the Benchmark Agreement. We provide further information on pricing, rentals and transmission agreements on our Pricing page.

The Commerce Commission individually approves Transpower’s major interconnection investments and determines Transpower's maximum allowable revenue to cover other investment, maintenance and operation activities.

For additional on Transpower’s role in the electricity market see Transpower’s Electricity Market page.

How will Transpower manage competing connections?

The electricity market in New Zealand is designed to be competitive, encouraging economic investment in new generation to compete against, and potentially replace, existing generation.  As a regulated monopoly Transpower is required to provide open access connections to New Zealand’s power system.  Transpower will connect any new development where the new connection is technically and logistically feasible, the developer covers all costs associated with the connection, and our ability to operate the power system for the benefit of New Zealand is not compromised. Transpower does not consider the economics of a connection and does not provide advice on whether your project will be financially viable.

With open access there is no guaranteed right to transmission capacity beyond the use of the dedicated Transpower assets forming your direct connection to the power system. After you are connected Transpower may connect competing generation to local Transpower assets not dedicated to your connection.

In New Zealand there is also no mechanism to reserve spare circuit breaker panels or other spare capacity. Under New Zealand’s regulated market Transpower commits any spare connection capacity on a first ready first served basis. Spare capacity is committed when we have an approved application for a Transpower connection investigation.. We do not allow companies to ‘reserve spots’ earlier in the connection process to mitigate the risk developers might bank connections that will never be built.

Are there technical considerations particular to New Zealand?

New Zealand has a relatively small and islanded system – we don’t connect to other countries and we have a population of around 5 million in a country with more land area than the UK.  This means your assets will need to stay online through a large range of frequency and voltage variations as part of your compliance obligations.  You may need a modified design to stay connected, supporting the system during and following a contingency, and at the same time to avoiding undesired islanding.

If you or your consultant wish to run your own power system studies, Transpower provides annually updated power system models for public use via the Electricity Authority’s EMI website. These are DIgSILENT case files which run on the latest version of PowerFactory.

You will also need to understand New Zealand’s technical requirements before agreeing asset specifications with your manufacturer. The Electricity Authority is the source for Code and Compliance information.  Pay particular attention to Parts 3 through Parts 15 of the Electricity Industry Code of Participation.

Does Transpower publish any general reports to assist in determining connection location?

Yes.  TPR Envision and Envision Opportunities are two geospatial tools that allow you to not only see how we plan to develop the grid (TPR Envision), but also where best to locate new generation on it (Envision Opportunities).

For more answers to questions you may have check out our FAQs below or email us at customersolutions@transpower.co.nz

New Connections General FAQs [ pdf 176.24 KB ]