Friday 15 June 2012
Meridian Energy will soon start to construct Mill Creek, a 26-turbine wind farm north west of Wellington city.
Meridian Chief Executive Mark Binns says the time is right to build the project. “We have a strong pipeline of development options in New Zealand. Mill Creek will make a valuable contribution to our renewable generation portfolio and is another example of renewable energy meeting the country’s future energy needs.
“At an estimated $169 million to construct and with an annual average operating cost of $3.3 million, Mill Creek is a very strong commercial proposition,” says Mr Binns.
“We believe the combination of the wind farm’s relatively small size, location and compelling economics sets a benchmark for the industry.”
Meridian’s wind development team was able to take best advantage of a number of external factors to advance the project, including the strong kiwi dollar, an easing of steel prices and highly competitive turbine technology and construction industries.
The Mill Creek site benefits from a world class wind resource, harnessing the ‘roaring 40s’ wind from the Cook Strait. The funneling effect of Cook Strait means the site has strong and consistent wind speeds, making it an ideal place for a wind farm.
“Mill Creek will earn its place alongside its neighbouring West Wind farm as one of the most productive wind farms in the world,” says Mr Binns.
“The project will extend the contribution of renewable energy from the city to the wider Wellington region. Between West Wind and Mill Creek we will produce enough energy to power the equivalent of 100,000 average New Zealand homes.
“Mill Creek will also make a contribution to the forecast 1.2% 2 per annum growth in electricity demand over the next 10 years,” adds Mr Binns.
Mill Creek wind farm will be located on privately-owned farms in Ohariu Valley. The landowners selected Meridian to develop and operate the wind farm due to its strong track record of developing and constructing renewable projects.
Meridian applied for resource consents in 2009, which were granted by the Wellington and Porirua City Councils and Wellington Regional Council in 2010. The consents were appealed to the Environment Court in 2011 and gained approval in August 2011.
Mill Creek will produce on average 235 GWh of power per annum, that’s enough electricity to power the equivalent of 30,000 average New Zealand homes each year. Preparatory civil works will start in the next two months with full power expected mid-2014.
For more information contact:
Michelle Brooker - External Communications
021 225 9624
1 The number of occupied dwellings in Wellington City is 68,907 (West Wind at full capacity provides enough electricity to power the equivalent of 70,000 average New Zealand homes); the number of occupied dwellings in Lower Hutt is 35,727, as per the last census (Mill Creek will power the equivalent of 30,000 average New Zealand homes) http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/about-2006-census/final-counts-tables/wellington-region.aspx
About Meridian Energy
Meridian Energy is an integrated renewable energy company; the largest generator in New Zealand, with a strong pipeline of development options in Australasia; and an electricity retailer throughout New Zealand.
Meridian and its online subsidiary Powershop retail electricity to approximately 290,000 connections − homes, farms and businesses throughout New Zealand. Meridian received the highest customer satisfaction ratings of all the major national retailers, and Powershop was rated first overall, as voted by customers in two independent surveys1 carried out in 2011.
The Meridian Energy Group includes a parent company Meridian Energy, subsidiary businesses in Australia and the USA and other innovative New Zealand investments that complement our core activities as an electricity generator and retailer. In total the Group employs approximately 775 people and has offices in Wellington, Christchurch and Twizel, and, internationally, in Melbourne, Australia, and San Francisco, California.
Meridian generates electricity from renewable sources − wind and water in New Zealand; wind in Australia; and solar in the USA. The company supplies thirty per cent of New Zealand’s total electricity needs, including to the country’s largest consumer, the New Zealand Aluminum Smelter, near Bluff. Meridian owns and operates seven hydro stations, six within the Waitaki Hydro Scheme, and four wind farms throughout New Zealand.
In Australia, Meridian owns and operates Mt Millar wind farm and is partnering with AGL Energy to build the Macarthur wind farm, which, at 420 megawatts, will be the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere. The company also built the world’s southernmost wind farm at Ross Island in Antarctica, in partnership with Antarctica New Zealand. Meridian’s solar farm, CalRENEW-1, was the first grid-connected solar farm to be built in California, and the company is using that expertise to build the first solar farm in Tonga.
Meridian’s pipeline of renewable development projects includes options at different stages of investigation and consent. The Australasian development pipeline equates to more than 1,000 megawatts.
Meridian’s commitment to renewable energy, environmental stewardship and support for the communities living alongside its assets makes it authentically sustainable. Meridian continually looks for ways to provide positive energy solutions to customers to help them reduce their energy use.
The Meridian Energy Group is one of the state-owned enterprises included in the Government’s proposed Mixed Ownership Programme.
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