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TrustPower Announces Windfarm Expansion

TrustPower Announces Windfarm Expansion

TrustrPower Green Light Means Windfarm Expansion Complete By Next Winter

Electricity retailer and generator TrustPower will be producing power for an additional 16,000 homes before winter next year, as a result it giving the go-ahead for a major expansion of its Tararua windfarm.

TrustPower Chief Executive Keith Tempest says the company is delighted that the expansion, which had been planned for some time, has finally been given the green light.

"The key factor in making this project viable has been the Government's early granting to TrustPower of renewable carbon credits. The windfarm extension will help New Zealand avoid having to burn fossil fuels to meet its energy supply needs, saving approximately 70,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year."

Mr Tempest says he is delighted that Minister of Energy, Pete Hodgson, and the Climate Change Office have been so supportive of the expansion, helping to lift the project from a "we would like to do when it becomes viable" to a "can do right now".

The project, costing $55 million, will see the existing 48-turbine windfarm, already the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, more than double in size to 103 turbines.

Orders for the 55 additional turbines, which will increase the windfarm's output to 68 MW, have been placed with the Danish manufacturer Vestas. Vestas was the manufacturer of the existing turbines commissioned in 1999. TrustPower made the decision to use the same make and model of turbine because of their proven suitability for the site and to realise economies in maintenance and spare parts requirements.

Mr Tempest said approximately $20 million of the $60 million project cost would be spent in New Zealand on site-works and locally produced components such as the lattice towers on which the turbines are mounted. The workforce on the site is expected to range between 15 and 40 people.

"Because the resource consents for this expansion are already in place, the project will now proceed quite quickly. We expect the first new turbine to be operational by mid-December this year, with the entire 55 up and running by 15 May next year, in time to help reduce the demand for thermal generation to supplement hydro storage next winter," Mr Tempest said.

TrustPower currently generates approximately 60% of the power it sells to residential and small commercial customers, and the expansion will increase that to 65%.

Mr Tempest said TrustPower believed that wind generation could have a wonderful future in New Zealand. It perfectly complements sustainable generation from hydro schemes that incorporate storage capability.

"We see wind as a tremendous resource, allowing us to reduce hydro generation when the wind blows, thereby conserving water for times of peak demand. The wind continues to blow during periods of low rainfall which means that wind generation, properly matched with hydro generation, has the capability of providing us a much improved ability to get through dry years with greater certainty of supply."

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