Success Story

Transpower New Zealand unlocks capabilities to modernize and scale critical infrastructure in real-time


Transpower designs, builds, and maintains the New Zealand national electricity grid. In addition, it also operates the power system and manages New Zealand’s wholesale electricity market in real-time. Its customers include local electricity distributors and generators, and major industrial companies.

Transpower placed Red Hat solutions and other open source technology at the heart of a ten-year integrated roadmap to modernize its critical Market System. The Market System is a critical application used in the control centers, to ensure a secure power system and optimal electricity prices are dispatched in real time. Its modernization is paramount in ensuring Transpower can continue to service the evolving needs of the wholesale electricity market as the power system scales up with electrification. 

    Asia-Pacific (APAC)
    Wellington, New Zealand 
  • SIZE
    885 employees


The roadmap to resilience

Transpower plays a unique role in New Zealand’s energy industry. Its transmission network consists of 174 substations, 25,000 transmission towers, and more than 6,800 miles of lines that run the length and breadth of the country across public and private land. These lines and substations transport bulk electricity (up to 220,000 volts) from where it is generated to cities, towns, and some major industrial users.

In 2013, Transpower reached a turning point. Products were reaching end-of-life in mission-critical applications and needed replacing but there were only a limited number of experts who were available to work with the complex architectures. This situation would prove to be a catalyst for widespread change. It highlighted both the risks and costs of outdated and unsupported technology, as well as the lack of available expertise to support the system which had become increasingly costly to maintain and suffered long outages.

A holistic response was needed.

Find out more about modernizing applications

Transpower launched a ten-year integrated roadmap to modernize its market system– a vital piece of national infrastructure. Its aim was to ensure that the system remained fit for purpose, resilient, and flexible, with the ability to scale to meet large-scale industry change while remaining cost-effective to maintain

The roadmap set out three areas for transformation: people capability, processes, and technology changes. As part of the shift in process and tools, Transpower adopted DevOps and agile ways of working. Technology changes involved moving to open source products to replace end-of-life proprietary products while simplifying its architecture and moving to modern programming languages. Successfully achieving this would mean Transpower could avoid a full system rewrite, delivering considerable financial savings and minimizing service disruptions while keeping the lights on. 


Development-first approach delivers two-year payback

The grid operator already used Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® (RHEL) to support early modernization projects, including the deployment of a modern, full-scale, development-first enterprise service bus (ESB) based on Red Hat Fuse.

The Red Hat Fuse solution, followed by Red Hat® OpenShift®, Red Hat AMQ streams, RHEL, and Red Hat Satellite, met Transpower’s need for development-first platforms. It also played a vital role in attracting and retaining key staff to support Transpower’s modernization journey.

Transpower leveraged the full capabilities of Red Hat Fuse, fully automating the deployment of Karaf clusters across development, testing, staging, training, and real-time and operational support environments. Red Hat Satellite and RHEL were leveraged to support the automation across the Transpower fleet of servers.

Using automation ensured that Transpower could build and rebuild environments from source code. By porting the corporate ESB technology to Red Hat Fuse, it also achieved an impressive two-year payback period.

As Transpower looks to the next stages of their modernization journey, Red Hat Application Foundations will continue to provide core technologies for building, deploying and operating these applications.

Learn more about Red Hat Application Foundations

Business outcome

A foundation for innovation

To maintain a reliable electricity grid, critical functions such as managing power system security, energy dispatch, and operation of the wholesale electricity market required that applications run reliably and were ready to react to innovations in the market.

Beginning with the dispatch system, Transpower began modernizing key applications as Java microservices on Red Hat OpenShift as an application platform. The lessons learned from the dispatch project allowed Transpower’s teams to confidently begin modernizing the architecture of the rest of the Market System, also built on Red Hat OpenShift.

As new power generation types and new technologies connect to the grid, a stable, flexible platform gives Transpower the ability to adapt and take on complex challenges. In 2022, Transpower launched real-time pricing, allowing generators, retailers, and electricity consumers to make decisions in real time about their energy consumption or generation. To make it easier to act on these decisions, Transpower integrated tools like modernized dispatch applications with enhanced capability in the Market System software. This provided accurate and timely prices that were essential to emerging battery storage and smart appliance technologies. Components like AMQ Streams running on Red Hat OpenShift provided these applications with streaming data needed for real-time pricing information.

With the new environment in place, Transpower has been able to grow its Market Systems Development Team from a staff of 3 to over 20. It’s a move that reduces organizational risk and enables them to scale delivery and take on large industry changes similar to real-time pricing.

While Transpower scales up its team, Red Hat continues to provide the support and guidance needed.

“Our teams have always found Red Hat has provided valuable technical guidance when we needed it,” said Arosha Aluwihare, Head of Application Services, Transpower New Zealand. “We’ve been able to use Red Hat Consulting expertise to QA our designs and help us troubleshoot during implementation to speed up problem resolution. The Red Hat team brings a great customer lens and understands what it means to run real-time systems.”

With the successful transformation of the Market System, Transpower has avoided costs— around NZ$50m—to re-write the entire system. Outages are resolved quickly, improving overall system resilience. More importantly, the new technology ensures that Transpower’s market system continues to service the needs of the wholesale electricity market, now and in the future.

Learn more about our DevOps platform

With other systems and applications scheduled to modernize over the next five years, Transpower has the option to consolidate and reuse existing platforms, further adding to their return on investment.

“The modernized system enabled us to deliver at scale with the largest single change in the electricity market since 1996,” said Daniel Crawshay, Operations, Process and Technology Improvement Manager at Transpower. “It’s enabled us to build our capabilities while delivering a quality output to customers.”

Red Hat solutions are playing a key role in re-architecting other Transpower applications, and are set to accelerate its journey to the cloud. 

Icon-Red_Hat-Media_and_documents-Quotemark_Open-B-Red-RGB Red Hat’s support—on top of access to source code—ensures a good balance of self-support and vendor expert knowledge of the systems we run.

Chris Schultz

Principal Architect – Delivery, Transpower New Zealand

Icon-Red_Hat-Media_and_documents-Quotemark_Open-B-Red-RGB Red Hat worked with our teams to troubleshoot technical issues and had technical experts on standby when the system went live. This gave us confidence that any problems could be resolved at pace.

Arosha Aluwihare

Head of Application Services, Transpower New Zealand

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