New Zealand utility Meridian Energy to build 176-MW wind farm

Te Apiti wind farm in New Zealand. Author: Jondaar_1. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

February 25 (Renewables Now) – New Zealand electricity provider Meridian Energy Ltd (NZE:MEL, ASX:MEZ) on Wednesday announced plans to shortly start construction on the 176-MW Harapaki wind farm, close to the country's eastern coast.

The new onshore wind farm in Hawke's Bay will have 41 turbines of 4.3 MW each, to be supplied, installed and maintained by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA (BME:SGRE).

Meridian has picked as civil engineering contractor a joint venture formed by local sector players Hick Bros Civil Construction Ltd and Spartan Construction Ltd. State-owned Transpower New Zealand Ltd, the country's electricity grid operator, will be in charge of supplying, installing and commissioning the substation and grid connection. Italian cable provider Prysmian (BIT:PRY), South Korean industrial conglomerate Hyosung Corp (KRX:004800) and New Zealand regional power contractor Unison Contracting Services Ltd round off the list of key suppliers.

The investment required to develop the wind farm amounts to NZD 395 million (USD 294.1m/EUR 241.1m). The New Zealand energy company intends to initially fund the cost through bank loans. The final commissioning date is set for mid-2024.

The development of Harapaki Wind Farm is seen to align with the clean energy momentum in the country's economy as the New Zealand authorities seek to encourage a transition away from fossil fuels in an effort to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In its first report in January, the New Zealand Climate Change Commission said the government needs to do more and recommended a new average greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 17% between 2026 and 2030, and 36% in 2031-2035, based on 2018 levels.

"We need to move faster to convert our fossil fuel industries to clean energy, convert our transport fleet to electricity and ensure every new industrial development is powered by clean energy," Meridian CEO Neil Barclay said.

The company currently operates five wind farms in New Zealand.

The Harapaki facility, to be installed 50 km from the port city of Napier, will generate enough power to supply over 70,000 average households.

(NZD 1.0 = USD 0.744/EUR 0.610)

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