A NEW business has been formed to operate an electricity distribution network that will power New Zealand’s Ruakura Superhub.

Ruakura Superhub is an inland port and logistics precinct on the North Island, with freight links to the ports of Auckland and Tauranga. The latter operates the inland port component as a joint venture with precinct developer Tainui Group Holdings (TGH).

TGH announced on Monday (8 July) it had formed a new subsidiary business, Ruakura Energy, to own and operate an electricity distribution network designed for the superhub.

The superhub is already home to a number of large warehouse and distribution centres with “significant energy needs”, including for temperature controlled, cold-chain operations. Maersk established a presence at the superhub earlier this year with its Maersk Hamilton Cold Store.

Energy demand is expected to grow as stage one of the superhub (93 hectares) is fully developed and tenanted, and during the 20-to-30-year process to develop the full 490 hectares.

TGH said the demand for energy created an opportunity to develop an electricity network and independent energy supply.

TGH chief executive Chris Joblin said Ruakura Energy has the potential to expand its operations in the future.

“Looking forward, Ruakura Energy is not just a utility provider but a critical component of the Superhub’s infrastructure, integrating energy solutions that potentially include roof-top and solar array generation for on-site consumption or sale of energy back to the national grid,” Mr Joblin said.

The Ruakura precinct is located adjacent to nearby national electricity assets. Ruakura Energy will connect directly to the nearby Hamilton grid exit point, owned by Transpower, and distribute power via a new Ruakura substation currently under construction.

This is connected to an underground network as part of the original civil works around the precinct.

Ruakura Energy has appointed PowerNet, New Zealand’s fourth-largest electricity management company, as the network manager to manage the distribution assets.

Critical components of the network are currently under construction and Ruakura Energy is expected to commence operations under its own name in late 2024.