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Mercury steps up windfarm spend

Mercury has decided to take a bigger tilt at wind turbines and has amended its contracts with the Danish manufacturer Vestas.

Mercury is to complete New Zealand’s largest wind farm at the Turitea site near Palmerston North by debt funding the significant foreign exchange cost.

Mercury’s chief executive, Fraser Whineray, says Mercury has committed to build the remaining 27 consented turbines at Turitea, at a cost of $208 million, adding to the 33-turbine project announced earlier this year.

 This will create New Zealand’s largest wind farm at 222MW, producing 840GWh annually, gjving by way of example of what that means, that it is enough  to power 375,000 electric vehicles – except that NZ is far short of that quantity of EVs.

“Being able to complete the Turitea wind farm at its full scale contributes further to New Zealand’s sustainable, low emissions future,” Whineray said.

(His release said it would even by ‘Kiwi-made’ electricity – we had no idea that there was any other source. Maybe OEM  batteries?)

“The combination of long-term electricity demand projections, synergies from already committed transmission infrastructure, construction and operations on site, and co-benefits with the Waikato hydro system mean completion of the Turitea wind farm makes sense.

It was duly noted that announcement closely following the passing of the Zero Carbon Bill by Parliament.

The newly enacted legislation sets up a framework by which New Zealand's policy on climate change will be developed in the effort to achieve the aims of the 2015 Paris Agreement. That includes a target to reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases (except biogenic methane) to net zero by 2050.

Mr Whineray said it is clear that there will be a need for significant amounts of renewable electricity to support the path to a low carbon future.

(By way of another comparison, Headliner notes that the Manapouri power station, New Zealand’s largest hydro power station, sits at 800 megawatts, and generates enough electricity each year for about 619,000 New Zealand homes).

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