Meridian Energy’s Harapaki wind farm near Napier has begun generating electricity. The first turbine of the 41-turbine wind farm was energised today, with the remaining turbines to be switched on one-by-one as Meridian works towards full power by September 2024.
When completed, the wind farm, located north of Napier on SH5 in the Maungaharuru Range, will have 176MW of generation capacity – enough to power over 70,000 average households.
Guy Waipara, General Manager of Development at Meridian, says the company is pleased with the progress being made after earlier delays caused by Cyclone Gabrielle and other weather events, and gives credit to team working on site.
“It’s been a tricky site to work on given the number of high rainfall events we’ve had, as well as strong winds that make it great for generation but can also make it challenging for installing turbines – particularly in spring.”
“We’ve had a great group of contractors and a site team that is working really well together. Despite all the challenges, they’ve achieved this major milestone and we’re on track to get as much power as we can on stream for winter 2024, followed by full power by September,” says Guy Waipara.
Over 2,400 people have worked on the project since construction began in September 2021, with around 120 currently on site. A key project objective was to source labour, goods and services locally whenever possible, and we’re proud to have achieved an average of 50% of employed staff from the Hawkes’s Bay region, which peaked at 57% during civil works.
Guy Waipara says the project is delivering a number of firsts for the company, and for the industry, particularly in areas like sustainability where the project has embraced new strategies and processes to reduce waste and keep carbon emissions low.
“To do this we used a combination of on-site actions during construction and a ‘innovate-as-we-go’ approach. Our new foundation design, requiring less concrete, coupled with the establishment of an on-site concrete plant, significantly reduced transportation needs from Napier.”
As of October the project has diverted 78% of materials from landfill to be reused elsewhere, mostly on site or within the local community. The project has saved an estimated 14,500 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) through the build process to date.
The reuse of materials also extends to our existing wind farms where we re-use or recycle all materials that have reached their end of life. Where there is no recycling option available yet, we will store materials until a solution is found.
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