22 Apr 2022

Aurora Energy collaborated with a wide range of community groups and stakeholders to provide a reliable and an enhanced electricity supply to the residents of Otago Peninsula.  

Six lattice towers and 1.85 kilometres of overhead conductor had been in place since 1957, supplemented by a submarine cable installed in 1947.

Aurora needed to replace the ageing infrastructure to ensure ongoing reliability, resilience and capacity, whilst working with the community to deliver the best outcomes and ensure minimal disruption during construction.


The Harbour Crossing project team analysed the possible options from a cost-benefit perspective to upgrade the assets and presented these at a stakeholder meeting early in the planning process.

That early consultation highlighted wider benefits that would be achieved by removing overhead lines and the lattice towers.

As part of the project, Aurora worked with Otago University’s Marine Studies Centre to ensure the seabed and marine life were integral to planning for laying the new submarine cables.

SeaWorks and Underwater Solutions carried out a seabed survey before the work began and Aurora engaged with the Department of Conservation to consider the best way to clear vegetation and ensure minimal ground disturbance. 

Otago Harbour has special meaning to local rūnaka as an abundant source of mahika kai for the tāngata of Ōtepoti. A site tour for Ōtākou rūnaka was used to outline the work involved and explain how it would restore the natural beauty of the landscape. Local iwi blessed the site before and after the project was completed.

Community collaboration helped deliver a project that saw two new 11kV submarine cables with 350-amp capacity replace the existing 150-amp capacity cable, and the removal of six lattice towers and their overhead conductor.

Aurora says removing the two lattice towers from Quarantine Island (Kamau Taurua) has restored the beauty of the public reserve. The company also used the work programme help bring in a water tank and gravel to the island for the local community. 

Aurora also collaborated with ‘Save the Otago Peninsula’ (STOP) to supply and assist with replanting initiative near Portobello and has been working towards replanting flora where the previous towers sat.


The Harbour Crossing project has enabled Aurora to deliver a more reliable electricity supply, with twice the capacity. 

The project enhanced the coastline’s landscape while also giving vessels uninhibited access along the harbour channel.

Steel from the lattice towers has also been recycled. 

Aurora believes the project has reconnected local iwi with an island of cultural significance and has strengthened the company’s relationship with the local community. 

Aurora is a Community Initiative of the Year Award – sponsored by Eagle Technology – finalist at the 2022 New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards.

Awards night is Wednesday 29 June at Christchurch's new Te Pae Convention Centre.

To book tickets to the Awards ceremony, click HERE.