23 Dec 2004
Electricity generator and retailer TrustPower has announced plans to build the Southern Hemisphere's most technically advanced wind farm, adjacent to its existing facility in the Tararua ranges.
Chief Executive Keith Tempest says the company has lodged a resource consent application with the Palmerston North City and Tararua District Councils for a wind farm consisting of 40 turbines, each delivering 3MW, and capable of producing enough power for 52,000 homes.
TrustPower's existing Tararua wind farm, which was built in 1999 and doubled in size this year, already produces enough power for 32,000 homes.
Mr Tempest says the proposed 3MW turbines represent the very latest technology available on the world market, and demonstrate the huge advances in efficiency that wind-turbine manufacturers have achieved over the past few years. Only a year ago, TrustPower would have been looking to install at least 70 turbines to achieve the same performance, and five years ago would have required more than 160.
"Our Generation Manager and Wind Farm Development Manager recently completed a tour of international wind-turbine manufacturers, to make on-site inspections of their manufacturing and research and development facilities, and to validate each manufacturer's performance, warranty and service support claims. As New Zealand's most experienced wind-farmer, TrustPower wants to make sure that it is using the very best technology available, in terms of cost, performance efficiency, reliability, and backup."
Mr Tempest says the project, which he hopes will be delivering power to New Zealand homes before the winter of 2006, is expected to cost $220 million. The construction of the project will inject an estimated $70 million into the local economy, and once complete the new wind farm will employ a further team of seven full-time technical staff, which will also be of on-going benefit to the region.
"All of that depends of course on our gaining a resource consent under favourable terms and in a reasonable time. We have lodged this consent application somewhat later than we had hoped, but that reflects our efforts to consult with a wide range of local stakeholders. That initial consultation has revealed overwhelming support for our proposal, and as a result we are confident the project will have community support. Early next year everybody will have the opportunity to put forward their view as part of the resource consent process, and we encourage them to do so."
Mr Tempest says TrustPower anticipates that with a resource consent being granted during the first quarter of 2005, the new wind farm can be generating power to help meet consumer demand for the winter of 2006.
"That will take New Zealand another step toward adding much needed additional electricity supply and targets for sustainable electricity generation, while at the same time off-setting some 260,000 tonnes per annum of CO2 emissions, helpful in meeting Kyoto targets."
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