DESPITE CHALLENGING TIMES, IT HAS BEEN ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL YEAR BOTH FINANCIALLY AND OPERATIONALLY FOR THE NETWORK, GENERATION AND CONTRACTING BUSINESSES THAT ARE INCLUDED IN THE ENERGY SECTOR.
A relatively mild winter resulted in a slight reduction on the previous year in electricity consumption by domestic customers. However, a corresponding increase in consumption by non- domestic customers resulted in the total energy distributed by the network of 302.4 GWhrs, being 1% ahead of the budgeted target of 299.3 GWhrs.
In comparison to the previous 18 months, there was a noticeable increase in the number of residential housing sector and commercial developments requiring connections to the network.
Maintenance and capital expenditure on the network was successfully managed with an actual spend less than budget. Work undertaken included a number of reticulation upgrade projects, and those from a continuing programme to ensure load growth and security requirements within the Gisborne and Wairoa urban areas were completed. In Gisborne this included the undertaking of a significant 11kV pole replacement project in the Kaiti area. In Wairoa township, a number of 11kV switchgear and distribution upgrading projects were undertaken in order to increase capacity availability and increase security of supply in the town centre.
Work also continued on our programme of overhead-to-underground conversion projects in areas in, or bordering on, CBDs and/or high amenity areas. Projects completed were:
In the rural areas of Gisborne and Wairoa, the planned programme of aged asset replacement continued. Of significance was the completion of a maintenance and asset renewal project in the Ngatapa area. This project included the replacement of 11kV and 400V poles, and the upgrading of transformers and the removal of redundant overhead plant.
At the Waihi Hydro Generation Scheme a 6% increase on average rainfall for the year coupled with continuing improvements in operating scheduling, contributed to a record volume being achieved.
In total the six 1MWe diesel generators embedded at strategic locations within Eastland Network’s distribution network generated 405,334 kWhrs. The majority of this production was for maintaining supply to customers during faults and scheduled shutdowns for maintenance, or the reduction of maximum demand at Transpower supply points.
The period represented the first full year of operation for Geothermal Developments Limited (GDL), which has been under Eastland Generation ownership since January 2010.
The GDL plant located in Kawerau is a 9MW geothermal power station which, through the use of Ormat binary technology and full geothermal fluid reinjection, represents the latest in renewable geothermal power development.
During the year a dedicated Generation Manager was employed in the business to focus on growing the Generation portfolio. This portfolio now includes the development rights, signed up during the year, to a large block of land in the Kawerau region with an existing geothermal bore.
Work also continued on projects associated with increasing the amount of embedded Generation connected to Eastland Network’s distribution network, as part of planning to meet future regional demand growth requirements and ongoing development of the business. This work included the investigation of wind, biomass and large, small and mini- scale hydro Generation opportunities in the Gisborne and Wairoa regions, and a number of exclusive exploration and monitoring agreements were negotiated with landowners to facilitate continuing research.
Eastech Limited, the network field services contracting entity formed after a decade of exclusively outsourcing all network maintenance and construction work, completed its first full year of trading. Based in Gisborne, Wairoa and on the East Coast, Eastech met and/or exceeded all financial, service provision and health and safety targets. Working from a now proven sustainable base, plans are in place to grow Eastech and thereby supplement the existing pool of locally based contractors used to carry out network maintenance and fault work.