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

December 2021:

Transpower published its view of future electricity supply and demand scenarios that will drive upcoming investment on the National Grid. The outline of five possible scenarios will be critical to determining the grid investments needed to 2035, to enable renewables and electrification. Thank you to those who contributed to the scenario development.

View the NZGP1 Scenarios Update, December 2021.

Transpower completed the NZGP1 Long-list Consultation on 1 October 2021. Thank you to all who submitted. Submissions are now published on the Transpower website.

View the NZGP1 Long-list consultation submissions.


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.

Consultation on Central North Island (CNI) and HVDC Long List Options - NZGP1

We have completed consultation on the long list of options the part of the grid backbone between the High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) link between the North and South Islands, the transmission lines in the central North Island, and the lines around the Wairakei area. The next stage is the short list consultation in 2022.

Brunswick Stratford 220kV

We are continuing to assess the investment requirements for the line.

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

We are currently considering options for non-transmission solutions that could be viable alternatives and reduce the scale of work required on the grid backbone.