GENERAL: CEN: Contact fast-tracks transmission build with Transpower 08:43a.m. 
03/12/2019 08:43  
REL: 0843 HRS Contact Energy Limited  
GENERAL: CEN: Contact fast-tracks transmission build with Transpower  
3 December 2019  
Contact fast-tracks transmission build with Transpower  
Contact Energy (Contact) has agreed to co-fund an accelerated work programme  
by Transpower to help move renewable electricity generation in the lower  
South Island north through the national transmission network. This will be  
important if the strategic review currently underway by the owner of the  
Tiwai Point aluminium smelter results in its curtailment or closure.  
The work on the Clutha-Upper Waitaki Lines Project (CUWLP) by Transpower  
involves five projects. Two have been completed and the remaining three would  
be completed over a maximum of three summers if curtailment or closure of the  
aluminium smelter is announced.  
Contact Energy CEO Dennis Barnes said Contact's arrangement with Transpower  
would provide Transpower with $5 million in pre-funding to accelerate this  
work, with the first tranche taking place this summer. Transpower is looking  
to optimise the CUWLP work programme and accelerate its completion.  
"We applaud Transpower's flexibility and pragmatism on accelerating this  
project. It's important for New Zealand and this sort of innovative thinking  
is what we need, especially with the uncertainty around the tenure of the  
Tiwai Point aluminium smelter."  
He was confident the remainder of the work could be accelerated too. "Given  
the innovation demonstrated by the team at Transpower for this first stage of  
the work, I'm confident we can also work together to reduce the timeframe for  
the remaining work on the Clutha-Upper Waitaki Lines Project."  
Mr Barnes said the work would be part funded by Contact initially, but any  
material reduction in consumption or closure of the Tiwai Point smelter would  
further accelerate the need for Transpower's investment in transmission  
"Our view remains that a disorderly exit of the smelter would be a poor  
outcome for New Zealand. Sudden closure will affect multiple stakeholders,  
including all generator retailers. It would also be detrimental to the  
Southland economy and the pursuit of our decarbonisation goals."  
Paul Ford  
Ph 021 809 589  
Matt Forbes  
Ph 021 072 8578  
About Contact Energy  
Contact ( is one of New Zealand's largest energy retailers and  
generators. We're committed to a sustainable, low carbon energy future for  
New Zealand. We balance our commitment to lowering carbon emissions and  
producing renewable energy, while maintaining reliable access to energy for  
our customers. We generate electricity from hydro, geothermal and gas and  
have one of the most flexible generation portfolios in the country.  
End CA:00345350 For:CEN Type:GENERAL Time:2019-12-03 08:43:54  

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