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Meridian And Wel To Start Construction Of Raglan Wind Farm Project

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Meridian And Wel To Start Construction Of Raglan Wind Farm Project

State-owned power generator and retailer Meridian is to go ahead with construction of a 64 megawatt (MW) wind farm near Raglan in partnership with Waikato electricity distribution company WEL Networks.

The development, known as Project Te Uku, will be built on private land on the Wharauroa Plateau, about 30km west of Hamilton, and south-east and inland of Raglan.

At 64MW it will generate enough power to supply the equivalent of 30,000 average New Zealand homes. Project Te Uku is the first wind farm built with partnering principles between a community power trust and a state-owned power generator and retailer.

Meridian generates all its power from renewable sources - wind and water. It owns and operates the Manapouri Power Station and eight hydro stations on the Waitaki hydro scheme in the South Island.

WEL Networks is a provider of electricity distribution services to the Waikato. Owned by a community trust, WEL Energy Trust, WEL Networks owns, develops and maintains the electricity network of lines, cables, substations and associated infrastructure. The WEL Networks distribution system connects 80,000 customers to the national grid.

Meridian chief Executive Tim Lusk says the partnership brings together two organisations with strong beliefs and experience in supporting community initiatives and a commitment to running their businesses in ways that improve the lives of New Zealanders and the health of the New Zealand environment.

"These commitments are core to Project Te Uku's development, and we look forward to working closely with WEL on a project the Waikato region will be proud of.

"We are confident that the project represents a sound investment proposition. The site has a great wind resource, it confers considerable portfolio benefits to Meridian given that the company is a South Island-based generator, it is efficient from a transmission perspective as the project will be embedded in the local network and it adds to our existing scale in wind."

WEL chief executive Dr Julian Elder has welcomed the decision saying it is a positive move for the environment and the local community.

"The project will make a significant contribution to New Zealand's renewable generation goals while also serving to strengthen our electrical networks in Raglan and surrounding areas."

The project has an estimated cost of $200 million.

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