Irrigators in the Rangitata, Orton and Clandeboye areas are being given a more than three-fold boost in electrical energy with a major upgrade of Alpine Energy Ltd’s Rangitata substation and extensive new poles and lines infrastructure.

Installation and maintenance company NETcon Ltd is currently working on the upgrade that will see a second 15 MVa transformer installed beside one commissioned in July last year, lifting the supply capacity from 9 MVa to 30 MVa.

NETcon project supervisor Aaron Sayer said the upgrade would meet an increasing demand from irrigators and provide for the growing dairy industry for at least the next 20 years.

“The demand for electricity has been relentless out here for the last five years and we are making sure we are keeping pace,” Aaron said.

“We have to provide for the peaks, not constant year-round load. There is little demand in the winter so there will be a surplus of energy available then but at this time of the year the demand is large.”

At the heart of the upgrade is the addition of T1, a new 15 MVa transformer to be placed on to foundations currently being prepared (to the right in the picture above); new switchgear at the substation that will upgrade the current handling capacity from 15 MVa to 30 MVa; the installation of a new 33 kV incomer from the new Canal Road Switching Station, and the installation of new 11 kV switchgear and feeder lines from the upgraded substation on the corner of Old Main South Road and McClelland Road.

For readers who wonder just how lines get from the top of one pole to the other, there’s a clue above. Like unwinding a giant cotton reel, skilful helicopter flying recently saw each line laid in its respective insulator bracket with unerring accuracy along McClelland Road, across State Highway One and the main trunk railway.

Aaron said the project would be complete by the end of the year.

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NETcon is the main contractor to Alpine Energy.

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Infratec is a division of NETcon, specialised in end-to-end renewable energy.

Energy Made Clean is Infatec's strategic alliance partner based in Perth.

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