Meridian has reassessed the maximum capacity of the generating units at Benmore Power Station. The maximum capacity of each unit can be increased by 5MW to 95MW rather than the current 90MW per unit.
Overall station output remains the same at 540MW due to discharge consent limitations. But the additional unit capacity will be valuable when at least one of Benmore’s six units is on outage. As an example, with one unit on outage the maximum station capacity would be 475MW (95MW x 5 units), up 25MW on the current maximum of 450MW (90MW x 5 units).
Meridian is making this additional capacity available in the hope that it may help with any tight supply and demand conditions that arise on the electricity system, for example during winter peak periods.
Unlike the recent announcement of a potential increase to maximum unit capacity at Manapōuri power station [see here], this increase in unit capacity at Benmore is not dependent on Transpower granting a dispensation. Therefore, the change can take effect immediately.