This complex, 17-stage substation refurbishment utilised new technologies including laser scanning and 3D modelling to reconfigure 70% of the site, expand footprint by 50%, and ultimately provide a more stable and reliable power supply to the region.

Transpower’s Hawera Substation provides a critical power supply to a number of stakeholders in the Taranaki region, including the 12’000-strong Hawera township, Fonterra’s Whareroa dairy factory, Trustpower’s Patea Generation, and the Origin Energy-operated Kupe onshore gas production station.

A refurbishment was required to replace ageing assets and upgrade the busbar to 1200 amps. This involved a complex 17-stage construction sequence, encompassing all civil, structural, primary electrical, secondary/ protection and transmission line works.

The challenge was it had to be undertaken within the existing substation footprint, in the proximity of live equipment, and while maintaining power supply to Transpower’s multiple existing customers.

As design managers for the project, we prepared the design documentation for the 17 stages of construction. The feasibility of the upgrade was proven through the use of new technologies, including laser scanning to develop a point cloud of the site and 3D modelling of the 110 kV switchyard – a first-in-New Zealand approach for a substation refurbishment of this scale.

By keeping innovation, constructability, and safety front-of-mind throughout the design phase, the project was successfully delivered three months ahead of schedule, with no safety incidents, and project savings of approximately $1.25M. 


  • ACENZ INNOVATE NZ Awards of Excellence, Merit, 2018
  • EEA Engineering Excellence Award, Finalist, 2018

17 stages

Of construction



50% increased

Site capacity

Our team says

Preparing the design for the 17 stages of construction was a key challenge. The ability to draw on our multi-disciplinary team for advice, guidance and learnings from similar projects was essential to its success.

Mark Jacob

Principal - Power

Our client says

The 3D model produced by Beca proved extremely useful as it helped the team visualise the design and alleviate concerns regarding tight clearances - which on a browfield site is a significant safety aspect to consider.

Ahmed AlShadli

Transpower Project Manager

Our People

Alex Aramakutu

Manager - Central Power

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Mark Jacob

Renewables Lead and Senior Principal - Power

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