Meridian and NZ Windfarms have agreed to form a 50-50 joint venture to repower and extend the Te Rere Hau wind farm. The project involves the design, construction and operation of up to 39 new turbines with generation capacity of up to 170 MW. This will be New Zealand’s first wind farm repowering project and has the potential to generate seven times the annual renewable energy production of the existing fleet.
The Te Rere Hau wind farm is located near Palmerston North on the Tararua Ranges, which offers some of the best wind resource in New Zealand. Originally constructed in 2006 with five turbines, it currently has 91 small turbines with total installed capacity of 45.5 MW.
In May 2023, NZ Windfarms obtained a two-year fast track consent for the first phase of the project, consisting of approximately 30 new larger turbines. A second phase of fast-tracked consent for the extension of the project (the Aokautere Extension) is being sought. This involves a further nine turbines.
NZ Windfarms has also secured conditional access to a new transmission corridor through a combination of a land purchase and an easement, allowing the new wind farm to connect directly to the Transpower Bunnythorpe-to-Wilton transmission line, while maintaining a backup with the existing connection through the Mercury Energy-controlled Tararua 3 substation under a contract with Mercury that expires in 2031.
Meridian CFO Mike Roan says the company is excited to partner with NZ Windfarms.
“The electricity system needs to move with pace if New Zealand is to continue to grow the potential of electrification to decarbonise our economy and move us closer to net zero.”
“Meridian is doing its bit, with projects under construction and at various stages of development, but we are also open to working with like-minded companies, and in NZ Windfarms and Te Rere Hau we have found a great fit. This project is already well advanced and will be fast to execute,” says Mike Roan.
Meridian also has a long-standing presence in the region, having owned and operated the Te Apiti wind farm (10km from Palmerston North) since 2004.
NZ Windfarms Chair Craig Stobo says “following our request for expressions of interest, and an intensive engagement process, Meridian was selected as the preferred partner, and we are excited about this opportunity. If built now, the repowered wind farm would be New Zealand’s second largest wind farm after the neighbouring Turitea wind farm”.
The parties estimate the capital cost of the repowering to be approximately $500 million to $600 million, with the project expected to be completed in Q4 2027. Meridian will lead the remaining project development activities.
As part of commercial terms, NZ Windfarms will today make a placement of 43.2m NWF shares to Meridian, amounting to 15% of its existing equity capital, totalling $6.7m, at a price of $0.155 per share. Meridian will then have a 13.04% shareholding in NZ Windfarms.
NZ Windfarms will also undertake a pro-rata renounceable 1:8.5 rights issue of approximately 39.0m shares to existing NZ Windfarms shareholders at a price of $0.155 per share (the same price as the Meridian placement), raising up to approximately $6.0m (Offer). The Offer will be underwritten by Meridian up to approximately 28.8m shares (being up to approximately $4.5m).
NZ Windfarms Ltd
P: 021 733 751
Head of Communications
M: 027 838 5710