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Trust commits to promote power engineering workforce pipeline

08 April 2019

New Zealand’s electricity supply industry is facing an exciting future as technology strives to meet the challenges of creating a low carbon future, says the new Chairman of the Power Engineering Excellence Trust (PEET), a partnership between UC and major industry organisations.


Richard Griffiths (Incoming Chairman) and Peter Berry (Outgoing Chairman)

New Zealand’s electricity supply industry is facing an exciting future as technology strives to meet the challenges of creating a low carbon future, says the new Chairman of the Power Engineering Excellence Trust (PEET), a partnership between UC and major industry organisations.

Meridian Strategic Asset Manager Richard Griffiths has been appointed as the new PEET Chairman of the Board of Trustees, along with four new members from different power industry sectors. The PEET partnership is essential for the future of the industry Griffiths says.

“Over the next decade the electricity supply industry promises to be transformational as the rate of change of technology increases and New Zealand commits to a low carbon renewable energy future,” he says.

“New Zealand’s electricity supply industry has always provided a rich environment for bringing together industry, engineers and academia to solve current and future energy challenges and we owe a great deal to the foresight of those that established the Power Engineering Excellence Trust and the Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre) back in 2002. Their actions enabled the development of a research facility that is well regarded internationally and ensured that a reliable stream of high calibre power engineers continue to support our power sector to this day.”

“These are exciting times, replete with research and employment opportunities and it is with great pleasure and great sense of responsibility that I look forward to the role of chair and, together with the PEET and EPECentre Board members and staff, to ensuring its continued and valuable role in NZ’s energy sector.”

Board represents power sectors:

PEET members have nominated and elected Nikki Newham, Peter Brown, Shane Watson and Peter Armstrong to replace four members at the end of their term, each representing a different sector.

Dr Nikki Newham is the Regional Services Manager (Upper North Island) at Transpower and represents the Transmission Sector; Peter Brown is General Manager of PSC New Zealand and represents the Consulting Sector; Shane Watson is Network Strategy and Transformation manager at Orion and represents the Distribution sector; Peter Armstrong is General Manager at Mitton ElectroNet, and is the EEA representative for Professional Engineering.

The new members have joined Richard Griffiths, Strategic Asset Manager at Meridian, representing the Generation Sector; Robert Ferris, General Manager at Electrix, representing the Contracting Sector; and Professor Neville Watson representing the Academia Sector.

Standing down this year were Peter Berry (EEA executive Director), Craig Price (CTO at Beca), John Clarke (GM Operations at Transpower) and Tas Scott (Principal Consultant at Mitton ElectroNet).

On behalf of the Board, Robert Ferris, Board member representing the contracting sector said: “The Board would like to acknowledge the valuable contributions that Craig, John and Tas have made over the years and the challenge, debate and innovative thinking they have brought to the board table.

The Board would also like to particularly acknowledge Peter Berry and the contribution that he has made. Peter has been a Board member since the inception of PEET and EPECentre, which in itself is a significant legacy, and in more recent times has been Chair since 2012. PEET and the EPECentre have gone from strength to strength over those years and the Board would like to recognise Peter and the contribution that he has made to those results.

Finally, PEET would like to thank all of its members for their support, trust and confidence in the Board members and in the EPECentre team.”

About PEET:

PEET is a charitable trust established in 2002, with industry members representative of the various sectors of the industry, including generation, transmission, distribution, contracting, consulting and professional engineering. Its mission is to promote and support the education of power engineers and the study of power engineering as a field of excellence in New Zealand. PEET carries out this mission through an extensive scholarship scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate students, and through Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre) led events and activities. In 2018, PEET counted 22 Members, including 5 Premium Members (Mercury, Meridian, Transpower, Orion and Unison), 10 other Electricity Distribution Businesses - EDBs (Alpine Energy, EA Networks, MainPower, Marlborough Lines, Network Tasman, Northpower, Powerco, PowerNet, WEL Networks, and Wellington Electricity); and 7 other organisations (EEA, Beca, Mitton Electronet, PSC, Electrix, pba and Hamer).

To become a member and promote education of power engineers in New Zealand, please contact the EPECentre at

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