The upgrade of the Cook Strait power cable has taken another step forward with the awarding of the main construction contract.
The national grid operator Transpower is building a new high voltage cable, to be known as "Pole 3", to carry power between the North and South Island.
The $672 million project will lift the capacity of the underwater link from 700 to 1200 megawatts in the next five years.
Transpower has awarded the contract for building the converter stations at each end of the link to the Germany-based global electronics company, Siemens.
Siemens says it will begin work in March.