Transpower’s newest substation at Wairau Road on the North Shore quietly slipped into life recently, following two years of construction activity. The commissioning of a new substation is a highly anticipated event. It follows weeks of rigorous checking, inspecting and testing every operational component of the substation.
However, Project Manager Brett Stark says the actual commissioning was as exciting as turning on a light bulb – and that is exactly how he wanted it. “While some things are meant to go off with a bang, I can assure you that substation commissionings aren’t one of them,” says Brett.
Belying the passive commissioning, the last two years have seen intense construction at the Wairau Road substation as it was steadily built from scratch on Vector’s site on the North Shore. At the same time, Vector took the opportunity to convert its outdoor 33-kV switchyard into an indoor switchroom thereby reinforcing its northern network. Vector owns and operates the electricity distribution network in the greater Auckland region.
A major challenge for the project has been coordinating with the other parts of the larger North Auckland and Northland (NAaN) program of work that this substation interfaces with. The new substation is one of two to connect to the new underground cable link between Pakuranga and Albany (the other is on Hobson St in the CBD). With the first section of that cable from Albany ready and waiting, it was important not to drop the ball on delivering the substation to schedule.
“We aimed to have the substation in by winter this year, and that’s exactly what we’ve done, so top marks to all our people as well as our contractors - Hawkins and Electrix,” Brett said.
Installation of the second cable circuit between Wairau Road and Hobson Street substations is well advanced with HVAC testing expected to get underway in August and commissioning of the Hobson Street substation in September.