Saturday, April 13, 2024

Farmers’ help needed to power NZ

Neal Wallace
Transpower will need farmer agreement to build power capacity.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

A looming $400 million expansion planned for Transpower’s network will mean more requests to landowners for access to land on which to build infrastructure.

Raewyn Moss, Transpower’s executive manager for external affairs, said with a significant forward build programme needed to meet the increasing electrification needs of the country, the need to acquire property rights will increase.

“We work hard to develop our relationships with landowners, and with their co-operation we generally have good access to our assets,” she said.

“For new build and major upgrade projects, property rights acquisition is typically on the critical path.”

Transpower has announced plans to increase the maximum electricity flow from the South to North Island and to upgrade to lines in the central North Island and the Wairakei area.

The expansion of wind generation in the South Island is one reason for the expansion. 

Transpower has no property rights to construct new transmission lines and these must be negotiated, Moss said.

This is typically done through registered easements.

“If we cannot negotiate property rights, we can seek to compulsorily acquire these under the Public Works Act 1981.”

This is done through an application to the minister for land information.

Moss said opposition to infrastructure associated with Transpower’s transmission network has occurred in a small number of cases within the past 10 years, during the North Island Grid Upgrade project and a project near Gore.

Acquiring property is costly and time consuming and has taken up to seven years on the North Island Grid Upgrade project.   

Moss said in the majority of cases easements are negotiated without significant objections from landowners, but some seek compensation significantly above valuation which can cause delays and equity issues with other landowners.

“Through negotiations we are able to understand farming operations and minimise impacts on those operations or alternatively, reach outcomes that are acceptable to landowners.”

For existing works, landowners are entitled to compensation in accordance with the relevant legislation at the time of construction but easement compensation is paid as a lump sum rather than an ongoing annual payment.

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