Australia’s first community-owned wind farm, Hepburn Wind, is partnering with Meridian Energy to manage the maintenance and market services of the wind farm.
Meridian Energy CEO, Mark Binns says, “Meridian is proud to support this initiative. By providing our engineering expertise we’ve been able to ensure that the Hepburn community continues to generate renewable energy from their wind farm to power the community.”
The 4.1 MW wind farm hosts two turbines called Gale and Gusto, who produce enough clean energy for 2000 homes.
Powershop and Meridian Energy Australia CEO, Ed McManus says, “The Hepburn project is close to Meridian’s Mt. Mercer site which has meant we have been able to leverage our expertise from our large scale projects with a community close to one of our assets.”
“In both New Zealand and Australia we are faced with a changing demand-supply environment where we see the future being a series of small innovative projects, like Hepburn, to meet demand. It is great to see that Australian communities are realising the benefits of building their own wind farms and creating their own renewable energy,” says Mr McManus.
“The Australian energy market is vastly different from the New Zealand market – 80% of the energy in Australia comes from thermal resources, and only 20% comes from renewables. This provides the country with huge opportunities to make improvements to its profile through community-based projects like this,” says Mr McManus.
Mr McManus says projects like Hepburn are key for Australia. “The Australian Federal Government Renewable Energy Target is to ensure that 33,000GwH of renewable energy is built into the market by 2025. These targets are crucial in the commitment to clean energy by the Australian Government, but also in assisting Australia to make its Paris Climate Change commitments.”
Community energy enterprises give local groups a chance to make a significant contribution to reducing climate change. They can also provide long-lasting economic and social benefits to the community.
About Meridian Energy Australia
Meridian Energy Australia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Meridian Energy Limited (Meridian), the largest state-owned electricity generator in New Zealand.
Meridian first entered the Australian energy sector in 2001 through the purchase of a series of small hydro stations in rural New South Wales. In March 2003, Meridian purchased Southern Hydro and subsequently began development of wind farm projects. It also upgraded the company’s hydro-electricity assets in north eastern Victoria. Meridian Energy Australia sold Southern Hydro to AGL in October 2005.
In 2010, Meridian Energy Australia purchased the Mt Millar wind farm on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. They also began building the Mt Mercer wind farm, located 30km south of Ballarat in Victoria in the same year, completing construction in 2014. Combined the wind farms have a total capacity of 200MW.
Meridian generates renewable energy and supplies electricity to residential, business and rural customers throughout New Zealand.