National grid operator Transpower has advised that it will not be funding work to accelerate the Clutha-Upper Waitaki Lines Project (‘CUWLP’) transmission build in the lower South Island beyond the $10m committed by Contact and Meridian Energy in December 2019.
This means the CUWLP work programme is unlikely to be completed by the targeted commissioning date of June 2022, unless Contact and Meridian Energy contribute additional funding or the tenure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter is clarified.
Contact CEO Mike Fuge said the company’s commitment to helping accelerate the CUWLP work programme was unchanged, but Contact would not be making an additional financial contribution.
“We’ll continue to work with Transpower to see whether aspects of the CUWLP work programme can be optimised to mitigate delays from the recent COVID-19 restrictions. The goal is still to help move renewable electricity generation in the lower South Island north as soon as possible if the smelter closes or curtails its operations.”
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