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Contact Energy Outlines Generation Outlook

Contact Energy Outlines Generation Outlook

Contact Energy Ltd today outlined its plans for plant maintenance at its newly acquired Taranaki Combined Cycle plant and for restoration of dual-fuel capability at its New Plymouth power station.

“As previously announced, the TCC plant is due to undergo essential routine maintenance that will commence on April 11 and is scheduled to be completed by mid to late May,” Contact chief executive Steve Barrett said.

“This maintenance was planned prior to Contact’s acquisition of TCC earlier this month, and is an operational requirement.

“Maintaining the agreed schedule of maintenance is essential to ensuring the plant’s reliability over the coming winter months.

“We did explore with the plant’s manufacturers the possibility of delaying this maintenance and have concluded that this would not be feasible.”

Commenting on the gas supply outlook, Mr Barrett said that based on current information, Contact believed it held sufficient gas entitlements to meet the needs of its Otahuhu B and TCC plants. There should also be sufficient gas to run Contact’s New Plymouth station during the planned outage of TCC.

However, the situation for additional gas supply for electricity generation was much more uncertain.

“For this reason, as announced in February, Contact is moving to restore oil firing capability at its New Plymouth power station,” Mr Barrett said.

Mr Barrett said engineering work was underway to restore the plant’s fuel oil capability for commissioning by mid-June. Contact has lodged an application for a new resource consent to allow dual fuel operation at New Plymouth: “We are optimistic that there will be a decision on our application in the near future.”

Mr Barrett noted that a limited consent already exists that would allow New Plymouth to burn fuel oil in the event of significant gas constraints. This consent requires three months’ notice before oil firing can be undertaken.

“Given that significant constraints may exist during this winter, Contact has notified the consent authority that it may wish to use the existing consent this winter.”

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