A major upgrade to Wanaka’s electricity supply officially opened yesterday after two years of work and more than four years of planning. Aurora Energy’s newly completed Riverbank Road Substation, located opposite of Wastebusters, will improve the reliability of electricity supplies to customers and connect those supplies to new homes, farms and businesses.
The new substation will provide a hub for the high-voltage supply into Wanaka and surrounding areas, add capacity to the existing Wanaka substation and will be able to reroute the supply in the event of a fault.
The region’s $10.5 million project kicked off in 2014, which covered building a new switching substation to take power from the national grid in Cromwell and supply it to the Wanaka and Camp Hill substations; a 66,000 volt underground cable was also installed to connect to the Wanaka substation. The project’s final upgrade included replacing existing overhead power line poles with 14 taller power lines along Riverbank Road, between Ballantyne Road and State Highway 6, to guide the overhead lines into the new substation. The poles’ additional height will help provide safe clearance for the higher 33,000 to 66,000 volt lines.
Aurora Energy CEO, Richard Fletcher, said the project will improve the security of supply for Wanaka and will allow future capacity upgrades. “The Wanaka upgrade is one of several network additions we are making to cater for future growth and ensure continuing safe and reliable power supply for the local community.”
Fletcher thanked everyone involved in the project, with a nod to project partners Electronet, Delta and Fulton Hogan. Queenstown Lakes District Councillor and Wanaka Community Board member Ross McRobie officiated at the substation’s opening event and cut the ribbon to declare it officially opened.
Aurora Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dunedin City Holdings Limited, is the country’s seventh largest electricity network by customer connections and supplies electricity to homes in Central Otago, Queenstown Lakes and Dunedin.