Meridian Energy and Whakatāne District Council will work together to investigate a number of local renewable energy projects to support the Council’s Climate Change Action Plan.

Meridian Energy’s General Manager of Strategy & Finance, Paul Chambers, says Meridian has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the council, which will see them work together to explore opportunities to harness the benefits of renewable energy and help inform the development of the council’s Climate Change Action Plan and meet its goals.

“We’ve built up internal expertise at Meridian in anticipation of helping get small scale renewable energy projects off the ground with our customers.”

Under the MoU, Meridian will use its in-house expertise in solar energy, battery storage, electric vehicle charging and community energy tariffs to identify potential projects across the Council’s sites.

As New Zealand’s largest 100% renewable energy generator, Meridian is committed to working with likeminded organisations to help put projects together that work for their customers and combat climate change.

Whakatāne District Mayor Tony Bonne says the programme represents “the first comprehensive distributed energy project by a local government organisation that aims to deliver carbon reductions, resilience and also engage the community.”

“The Council is committed to demonstrating sustainability leadership by focusing on reducing our environmental impact; and working with Meridian on these key renewable energy projects will enable us to do that.”

“It’s great that the Council is also considering the feasibility of electric vehicles for its fleet, to further reduce their emissions. We know that electrifying New Zealand’s transport sector is one of the ways that we can reduce our emissions and reliance on fossil fuels”, says Paul.

Both parties are committed to reaching agreement on whether to proceed with three solar energy trial sites by the end of June 2018. At least one of these sites will include battery storage.