Meridian has begun construction of its Ruakākā Energy Park, near Whangārei, with the official sod turning event taking place last week for the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) part of the project.
Meridian Chief Executive Neal Barclay says, “This grid-scale battery at Ruakākā is the first significant milestone for our ambitions in Northland. The Ruakākā battery system will be Aotearoa New Zealand’s first large-scale grid battery and adds significant versatility for Meridian, and the electricity system as a whole.”
The sod-turning event marked the start of the earth works and drainage for the project which will be taking place until July. The earthworks will be done by United Civil Contractors from Whangārei and will involve moving 40,000m3 of sand from around the site and from a stockpile on McCathie Road.
“We’d like to acknowledge local hapū Patuharakeke, who with Meridian are developing a relationship agreement to work together with the hope this project enables collective opportunities, including employment and training, assessment of future projects as well as advancing renewable energy initiatives in their rohe (territory).”
“We have a bold vision for Ruakākā, with a grid-scale solar farm planned to further speed up our transition to a productive low-carbon economy. The shared infrastructure provided by the BESS will significantly improve the economics of the future solar farm,” says Mr Barclay.
Guy Waipara, Meridian’s General Manager of Development, says the project will have a positive impact on the region in terms of resilience and improving security of supply, as well as local economic benefits throughout the construction period and the introduction of a Community Fund upon completion.
Meridian is currently working with local contractors for Stage 2 of the project - battery support infrastructure.
The Ruakākā battery is expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2024.
For more information - https://www.meridianenergy.co.nz/power-stations/ruakaka-energy-park
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