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Mighty River Power Positive Report on Marsden B

For Immediate Release 13 June, 2003

Mighty River Power Receives Positive Report on Marsden B

Mighty River Power is progressing the resource consents necessary to run the mothballed Marsden B plant following a very positive engineering report on the state of the plant.

The Company will await final details of the Government's proposal for contracting dry-year reserve capacity generation before committing further engineering resources to the recommissioning of the Marsden B plant.

But, recently completed engineering assessments indicate the plant is in excellent condition and could be available to provide necessary back-up generation by winter of 2005. Consents are being progressed in order to meet that timetable for recommissioning.

Mighty River Power Chief Executive Doug Heffernan said that given the news about the plant's state of preservation, Marsden B was an ideal solution to providing dry-year reserve generation capacity in line with Government's recent announcement.

"However, we won't make our final decision until the Electricity Commission finalises its system for contracting generators to provide that dry-year, reserve capacity," says Mr Heffernan. "In the mean time we will push ahead with the consents process to allow the plant to begin operating for the winter of 2005, if required.

"It's ironic that the plant was built as back-up generation capacity for dry year situations and then mothballed with the discovery and development of the Maui gas field. More than 25 years later, with Maui running out, it could finally be used for that purpose."

Mighty River Power was already taking a close look at utilising Marsden B before the recent Government announcement. The 250MW, oil-fired plant just south of Whangarei, was mothballed in 1979 without ever being fully commissioned.

Mr Heffernan expected the project to cost between $90 and $100 million with most of the work focussed on bringing the plant up to full operational level. He said while it was too early to be specific the prospect of utilising Marsden B was a good development for industry in Northland with subsequent economic benefits to the region.


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