Transpower NZ Ltd is the operator of the Wholesale Electricity Market in New Zealand, and is well known as one of the very earliest pioneers to implement a wholesale market based on Locational Marginal Pricing.
The original electric power market system based on the Alstom Grid SPD solver, which went live in 1996, had accumulated many design changes and added-on applications over the years. These addressed both extensions and changes to functionality, and also deficiencies in the original design concept (such as the lack of a time dimension to the market model database). The result was a system that was complex to maintain and difficult to successfully adapt to changed requirements.
Alstom Grid was contracted in 2006 in a major Market System Project (MSP) to completely replace the electric power market system with one with a unified design and consistent market operator interface. Development phases of the project were completed under this contract, but in 2008 Transpower took over responsibility for system integration, testing and commissioning the new market system, with Alstom Grid providing bug fixing services and expertise under Transpower project management.
PSC, who had previously been acting as sub-contractor to Alstom Grid, were then contracted directly to Transpower to provide project management and technical specialist expertise for the remainder of the project.
Transpower restructured their MSP project group at the start of 2008 to take on the new responsibilities, and the remaining parts of the project were re-planned and re-budgeted. A very tightly constrained time-frame had been imposed on the remainder of the project, which would be an extreme challenge to meet, given the very large level of bespoke development and the number of internal and external parties involved.
A PSC project manager with background in market applications projects was seconded to the Transpower team as manager of the project’s IT streams of work, with 2 PMs under him. A particular responsibility was management of the ongoing Alstom Grid software delivery.
One of the first moves was to impose discipline on the delivery of software updates and patches to a fixed timetable, which was essential to allow the detailed planning that was necessary to co-ordinate parallel streams of integration, system test, user acceptance test and training over multiple hardware environments.
PSC also provided a number of technical experts to work as part of the large project team, of whom a core team of 4 remain as key support resources for the new system in operation.
The new market system was successfully commissioned to service in July 2009 and is regarded as highly successful.
Over the whole project, PSC provided Transpower with the services of 18 of our staff.
Services provided included:
- Project management expertise
- AIMMS/Cplex solver technical expertise
- Electric power market systems analysts
- .NET application developers
- Oracle DBA/Developer
- Alstom Grid SCADA/EMS systems analyst and software development
- Market training systems applications expertise
- OSISoft PI expertise
- Operational support