We want to work with you to ensure your new generation project is a success. Connecting new generation to the power system takes careful and coordinated planning.
The New Zealand power system is run on open access principles. You can request to build and connect anywhere you want but Transpower will always need to manage the integrity and security of the transmission system. You cannot buy or reserve transmission capacity on the transmission system.
Please engage with us early so that Transpower (as Grid Owner and System Operator), our service provider network and your own teams and service providers can meet your expectations in delivering on an expanding programme of work.
If you are building new generation greater than 1MW you will need to comply with the Electricity Authority’s Code and Compliance and engage with Transpower in our role as System Operator. Read the System Operator Companion Guide for Commissioning Generation and our Summary of System Operator interactions.
Most small assets (<40MW) choose to connect via the local distributor's network as transmission level connections tend to be more expensive. At some sites a transmission level connection can still be a cost effective option.
Medium-sized assets need to consider the costs and capacity of both options. This should include an assessment on the impact on transmission pricing for you and the distribution company. You can talk to Transpower and the local distribution company about potential implications including connection charges. Transmission pricing is regulated by the Electricity Authority.
Large assets (>50MW) will usually need to connect directly to Transpower's assets (e.g. a substation) if there is capacity. You will need to enter our connection application or investigation stage to access any spare connection capacity. If no suitable connection assets are available near your site or there is a capacity issue you may need to establish a new greenfield connection (costing upward of $20 million).
No two projects are alike, and many of the costs associated with your new connection will be specific to the site you build on and its location relative to existing transmission assets. Deciding where to connect to the national grid will have the most significant impact on connection cost.
Get in touch with us regardless of whether you are connecting with the National Grid or your local distribution company. We are here to help.
Service options and connection levels
We will work with you to identify the type of service you require from New Zealand’s National Grid and collaborate on the initial concept assessment. This can vary from a 24/7 ‘always on’ solutions with double-circuit connection and n-1 security in transformer and critical equipment through to lower lower resilience, lower cost connection solutions.
Minor changes to existing connections
If you need to make configuration changes to an existing connection, but don't require an upgrade, you will need to work with Transpower to coordinate changes to secondary systems. Our Protection & Automation Operational Engineering team can assess your need and advise how to proceed. If this applies to you, please complete and return the following form:
The three options below provide information relating to each connection type.
- Connect your generation
Do I need to engage with Transpower if I am connecting within a distribution network?
Yes. As state above, regardless of whether you are grid connected or distribution connected, if your generation capability will be greater than 1MW you will need to provide information to Transpower and there will be ‘Code’ obligations you must meet. 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. General guidance on your obligations can also be found in the system operator’s Asset Owners Requirements section. Also check out the 'New generation connecting to a distribution network FAQ' and 'Summary of System Operator Interactions' below.
For significant new distributor connected generation requiring new Transpower assets or changes to existing Transpower assets, the distribution company you are connecting to will need to engage with Transpower to plan and develop these. For more information see 'connect your network' below.
Read all our documents below, and if not covered drop us a line with your specific questions: [email protected].
Generation Connection FAQs [ pdf 153 KB ]
Generation Connection Guide [ pdf 1.62 MB ]
Guideline Summary of Obligations [ pdf 85 KB ]
Protection Considerations for Generation Connections [ pdf 137 KB ]
New Generation Connecting to Distribution Network FAQ [ pdf 112 KB ]
Summary of System Operator Interactions [ pdf 174 KB ]
Harmonic allocations - New direct connects [ pdf 103 KB ]
- Connect your industrial plant
Where do I go for protection information?
We have some resources for considering protection requirements as part of your connection:
2017 EEA Presentation [ pdf 801 KB ]
Boundary Protection Issues [ pdf 2.07 MB ]
Read all our FAQs and information below, and if not covered drop us a line with your specific questions: [email protected].
New Industrial Load Connections FAQs [ pdf 102 KB ]
Guideline Summary of Obligations [ pdf 141 KB ]
Harmonic allocations - New direct connects [ pdf 103 KB ]
- Connect your distribution network or distributed energy resource (DER)
Who pays to upgrade an existing connection?
For existing connection assets, at end of life, Transpower can fund replacement within our regulated capital expenditure limit, with a Modern Equivalent that meets the Original Service Potential.
- A Modern Equivalent asset performs the same asset function with no significant increase in capacity, security or functionality, that would not be expected from buying a “modern” unit of the same type, built to current day standards.
- Original Service Potential is defined in terms of the existing assets capacity and level of security taken in context of the installation surrounding the asset. This includes ensuring the asset is fit-for-purpose to avoid a near-term upgrade using Transpower’s prudent load forecast.
For a connection asset replacement or a connection enhancement Transpower will also complete a consultation assessment under the Grid Reliability Standard (GRS) as defined in the ‘Code’. This test will identify the most economic connection asset capacity within the constraints of the GRS.
The connecting party can accept the replacement assets option Transpower can fund within our regulated capital expenditure limit or, request a different capacity connection asset based on their own need assessment provided;
- if the chosen capacity provides a lower level of service, the connecting party must seek approval from the Electricity Authority
- if the chosen capacity is larger than determined by the GRS test, the connecting party must consult on the additional investment with their customers and seeks approval from the Electricity Authority
Our regulators promote ‘beneficiary pays’ as a general principle across all areas of capital expenditure. Fully funding a capacity upgrade through the Transmission Pricing Methodology (TPM) may represent a material change in “original service potential” to the benefit of a single customer and displace other investments within our regulated allowed capital expenditures.
Transpower will consider a small increase in capacity during a replacement to maintain the original service potential for its expected life. This capacity would be determined through carrying out an economic assessment (similar to the GRS) using Transpower’s expected load forecast (P50 forecast), excluding any speculative step or trend changes.
For connection asset replacements where the customer choice proposes development of a higher specification asset, the incremental cost (above straight modern equivalent replacement) must be funded through a Transpower Works Agreement (TWA) or alternate independent funding. The replacement only cost can be fundable via the Connection Charge component of the TPM.
For new connections or enhancements to existing connections not due for replacement, the full project cost must be funded through either a TWA with Transpower or alternate independent funding. This also applies to customer requested upgrades to interconnection assets outside Transpower’s RCP funding envelope.
Is the Grid Reliability Standard (GRS) relevant to my connection?
The GRS is an economic test Transpower must use for investments in new interconnection assets under our regulated capex input methodology.
Connection assets investments do not need to pass the GRS. For new connection assets the GRS is used as a consultation test. If your chosen assets capacity is larger than determined by the GRS test, you must consult on the additional investment with your customers and seeks approval from the Electricity Authority prior to confirming the investment.
Security / capacity at my GXP is becoming constrained, what are my options?
If your connection is forecast to become constrained, you need improved reliability, or you believe you need an upgraded connection for some other reason, Transpower can undertake a concept assessment including:
- identifying options including “traditional” grid / network enhancement options for customer investment and/or DG or other non-transmission options
- feasibility, high level cost, timeframes and risks for the options identified
- if requested a GRS study
What happens if I connect to a constrained part of Transpower’s network?
The New Zealand power system is run on open access principles. You can request to connect anywhere you want, but Transpower will always need to manage the integrity and security of the transmission system. You cannot buy or reserve capacity on the transmission system.
You can find more information on constraints in our Transmission Planning Report. To understand the uncertainties at play when considering investing, refer to the Investment Uncertainties section (in 2019 TPR, Section 3 Investment Uncertainties).
New connections to constrained parts of our network may also require wider system upgrades to provide you with the level of reliability you require. If these include upgrades to interconnection assets that do not meet the Grid Reliability Standard (GRS) investment test, the cost of these wider upgrades will need to be included as part of your connection investment.
Where do I go for protection information?
As an existing Transpower customer you are welcome to log in to our customer area to access protection information here.
When does Transpower care about connecting generation or storage to a distribution network?
When connecting any generation ≥ 1MW to a distribution network, in addition to meeting the requirements of the Electricity Distribution Business (EDB) you are connecting to, you will also have obligations to Transpower. Obligations to Transpower typically increase with the size of your project.
Transpower as System Operator has requirements for commissioning any generation ≥ 1MW. See the system Operator’s asset owner requirements for more information.
Transpower as Grid Owner is interested in the impact of your project on Transpower’s grid assets and the impact of your project on the EDB’s ability to comply with their obligations to Transpower at their point of connection, typically the local Transpower substation. To understand this potential impact see the guideline on ‘Transpower Grid Exit Point (GXP) impact studies for Distributed Energy Resource (DER) development’ below.
For more answers to your questions check out our FAQs below or send us an email: [email protected]
New Distribution Connection - FAQs [ pdf 114 KB ]
Harmonic allocations - Large distributed energy resources [ pdf 107 KB ]