South Island’s landmark first wind farm opened
Embargoed until noon Friday 8 June 2007
South Island’s landmark first wind farm opened at White Hill
Meridian Energy is today celebrating the opening of the first South Island wind farm.
The White Hill wind farm in Northern Southland overlooking the town of Mossburn has been officially opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Ms Clark unveiled a commemorative plaque and flicked a switch which set the turbines in motion. The event was attended by hundreds of guests including MPs, national and local dignitaries and community members. It also featured a local pipe band, ballet dancers and a contribution from students of three local schools, who have spent the week studying wind energy.
White Hill wind farm consists of 29 two-megawatt turbines and will produce enough electricity to supply about 30,000 average households.
Meridian Energy chairman Wayne Boyd says today’s opening is a landmark event for New Zealand.
“It is further proof wind-powered generation has an important role to play in meeting New Zealand’s future electricity needs, using clean, renewable fuels which this country has in abundance,” he says.
“It’s a demonstration of Meridian’s commitment to meeting those future needs in a truly sustainable way – which minimises our footprint on the environment and creates a social benefit for this generation and those to come.”
Chief Executive Keith Turner has paid tribute to the contribution made by the local community.
“It is fantastic to see White Hill operational,’ he says. “It has taken a lot of hard work from a lot of people. We received huge local support during the consenting process and later during our open days.
“First power at White Hill is a testament to what can be achieved with the support of the local community and a dedication to meeting the growing energy needs of New Zealanders.”