A project to improve the electrical infrastructure and provide for industrial expansion and economic growth is underway in Washdyke, Timaru.

Alpine Energy is laying four new high voltage underground cable circuits from the Transpower Timaru Substation on Old North Road to Alpine’s site on Seadown Road. Each circuit is about 3.7km in length and consists of three single core cables, having cross-sectional area of 1000 mm2, requiring 45km of cable in total to complete the project.

Once completed, the new infrastructure will provide consumers in the general Washdyke industrial and outlying areas with a substantial increase in available capacity, improved reliability and security of supply for the next 15-20 years.

Alpine Energy CEO Andrew Tombs says the project is a significant investment in South Canterbury’s future and provides vital infrastructure for the continued economic development of the region. Mr Tombs says the project will enable opportunities for new businesses and for existing businesses to expand their operations.

“Over the last few years there have been land-use changes in the wider Washdyke area. More land is being zoned for industrial development and with that comes more demand for electricity.”

The project, carried out by NETcon (Alpine’s subsidiary electrical contracting company), is expected to be completed in early April.

There is no planned disruption to power supply in the Washdyke area as part of the project.

 

Energy-efficiency will be one of the key features of the newly consolidated Alpine Energy, NETcon offices to be built on the company’s current site in Washdyke.

The community-owned network company this week handed the construction site over to contractors and Meadows Road neighbours, Thompson Construction and Engineering (TCE), for initial earth works on what will be a two-storey 3,000sqm administrative building – incorporating a communications tower and yard operations for NETcon.

The building will consolidate more than 170 Alpine Energy and NETcon staff and operations into one main office block, making it one of the most significant mixed office and industrial builds in the growing Washdyke industrial area.

It will sit behind the existing NETcon building on the company’s 5.5 hectare site off Meadows Road. The companies are currently spread across three buildings and several portacoms on the site.

The new $12 million development will also include additional parking facilities and is scheduled for completion by early 2018.

Alpine Energy Chief Executive Andrew Tombs said the current Alpine Energy offices would eventually be dismantled and removed to provide additional yard space while the existing NETcon buildings would be retained and used for training purposes.

“We’ve also removed a number of sheds that were on the build site and donated them to local charitable organisations, so where we can we are adopting a sustainable approach to repurposing the older buildings as potentially reusable community assets.”

 Tombs said the Boards of Alpine Energy and NETcon had taken a long term view. “This development is aimed at ‘future proofing’ our business taking into account growth and staff expansion in a building that is energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

“While the building is industrial in nature it is also modern with its use of open and shared meeting spaces, ensuring staff will work in a comfortable, efficient environment.”

TCE construction and design manager, John Wilson, said the approach to the Alpine Energy office design had been a collaborative one. “We’ve effectively taken a fairly simple, industrially slanted concept and refined it into a modern, purpose built landmark.”

Tombs said it was pleasing to be able to use local expertise in the build of the project, supporting the company’s ethos of contributing back to the community. “This is the end result of a six-month process during which we  carefully evaluated capabilities and logistics. In that time we’ve built a great working relationship with the contractor and we are all looking forward to seeing the building take shape over the coming months.”

Tombs said the company had also received pleasing levels of enquiry around initial leasing  opportunities on 11,000sqm site beside Elginshire Street, which has been earmarked as a new light industrial park.

- ENDS -

Alpine Energy is sending staff from its subsidiary company NETcon to help fellow lines companies to restore power in earthquake affected areas.

This means some secheduled work is being postponed. We will be informing customers over the coming days if the planned power outage for their area is cancelled. Customers who don't hear from us about a cancellation should assume the power will be turned off as advised.

If you have any questions or are unsure about what's happening in your area, please call us on 03 687 4300 or 0800 66 11 77.

Media statement
For immediate use

20 October 2016

Alpine Energy has confirmed that the company’s pole inspection, maintenance and replacement plan remains on schedule.

All wooden and concrete poles have an expected lifespan and there is a continuous inspection programme in place as part of the overall asset management and maintenance plan for the company. There are also other poles in the community supporting streetlight and phone infrastructure and these are managed and maintained by other entities.

There are about 40,000 wooden and concrete poles within the Alpine Energy geographical area. All poles are inspected and assessed for timing of replacement based on factors such as the condition of the pole, age, location and environmental factors.

Alpine Energy Chief Executive Andrew Tombs can reassure the community that there are only five poles that have been red-tagged as part of the normal inspection programme. All are scheduled for replacement within the three month regulated timeframe.

“This number is well within what you would statistically expect given the total number of poles in our area and all the factors that are considered in the inspection and maintenance programme.

“We have systems in place if anyone within our community has any concerns about any particular pole. This is something we take seriously. It’s also why we today reached out to colleagues in other areas to discuss this matter. We come together as industry colleagues around the South Island on a regular basis and so we’re often discussing matters like this.”

ENDS

 

Alpine Energy has worked collaboratively with Infratec Ltd, one of New Zealand’s leading renewable energy firms, to deliver the country’s first grid connected commercial battery energy storage system (BESS) suitable for both network and consumer purposes as part of the network company’s commitment to understanding new and emerging technologies.

The significance of the innovation the project brings to the energy sector was acknowledged by Minister of Energy and Resources, Hon Simon Bridges, at the official launch of the project earlier today.

The launch will see the company embarking on a five-year trial of the technology to better understand the impact of the commercial application of battery storage technology on its own business and that of its customers.

The trial will be managed by Infratec. Infratec is recognised for its leadership in research, development and deployment of new technologies within the energy sector. The trial will involve using BESS to research the possibility of using a 1 MW (1000 kW) battery storage system for network use. The lithium ion battery energy storage system can currently store up to 142 kWh of energy and provide up to 91 kVA of peak power, with the ability to upgrade peak power to 142 kVA with the addition of a second inverter. At 142 kWh the energy storage system can supply up to 20 average sized homes for one hour during peak periods, and over two hours during off peak periods.

“We have engaged in the BESS project in order to embrace the possibilities that future technologies can bring to the delivery of our core business and the sustainability of our community,” says Sara Carter, Alpine Energy’s General Manager - Commercial and Regulatory.

With the added capability the trial is expected to develop within the business, commercial opportunities for the company are anticipated, both domestically and internationally.

“Not only will the project deliver efficiencies to Alpine Energy’s core business, it provides the company with the chance to grow its internal capability in new technologies and to prepare to support emerging technologies by utilising battery storage technology.
“With battery storage technology decreasing in price faster than originally predicted, the future uptake of the technology is likely to be significant. The trial will therefore also create an increased understanding of how customer deployed battery storage might impact on an electricity network in New Zealand.

“This includes impact on local transformers, voltage performance, power quality and interoperability. There is also an opportunity to expand the trial to include solar PV, micro-wind and EV charging,” adds Carter.

Project planning for BESS began in October last year and Alpine Energy have employed BESS as a network management tool on the Transpower Demand Response Program (DRP), an initiative designed to lower congestion and increase capacity on the national grid since the beginning of May 2016. Infratec is currently managing this initiative although Alpine Energy staff will eventually pick up that function as capability within the company develops.

Design and construction of the battery storage system was completed by Australian company Energy Made Clean Ltd (EMC), who specialise in designing and building commercial and utility scale renewable energy projects across Australasia. EMC also provided the temperature controlled container, battery rack and batteries and installed all of the equipment in Alpine Energy’s Timaru Washdyke Yard facilities. Construction took approximately two weeks. The remaining electrical equipment including electrical switching equipment, software, batteries and inverter were independently supplied.

The BESS is housed in a 20-foot fully fire contained shipping container and is re-locatable to allow for use on low voltage sites throughout the network.

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