Meridian Clears Dunedin’s Air
Meridian clears Dunedin’s air
Residents of Dunedin can breathe easier, with the completion of work to clean up emissions from the boilerhouse which provides steam to the city’s hospital, university, Cadburys and New Zealand Towel Supplies.
Meridian Solutions, a subsidiary of Meridian Energy, took over ownership and operation of the boilerhouse from the Otago District Health Board in June last year, and entered into 15-year contracts for the supply of steam to the customers. They committed also to a major upgrade of the facility, including the installation of a baghouse filter system to remove dust from the gases discharged from the chimney.
The baghouse filter came into operation last Saturday (subs: June 7) some four months ahead of the date required in the resource consent issued by the Otago Regional Council.
Meridian Solutions General Manager Mike Suggate says one visible result has been the virtual disappearance of the previously grey/white smoke plume from the boilerhouse chimney.
“Our figures show that there will be a seven-fold reduction, in excess of 40,000kg of ash per year, in the particulate emissions from the facility.
“We believe this will have a significant beneficial effect on the health and wellbeing of the people of Dunedin.”
Mr Suggate says major progress has also been made on upgrading the facility, known as the Dunedin Energy Centre, in other areas, including a thorough clean out of the boilers, which had not been done for some time.
“The completion of the baghouse filter and an associated new boiler control system was a commitment by Meridian Solutions under our contract with the ODHB, and is among many steps we are taking to ensure best-practice operation and environmental compliance of the facility, and 100% reliable supply of essential energy services.”
Testing will be carried out over the next few weeks to confirm the performance of the baghouse system, and the levels of emissions reduction achieved.
Meridian Energy at a glance
Meridian Energy is the largest of the three state-owned enterprises formed from the split of ECNZ on March 31 1999.
With a total New Zealand capacity of 2438 MW, it has some 30 percent of the country’s total electricity generation.
In addition to the eight hydro power stations based on the Waitaki River system, Meridian Energy owns and operates New Zealand’s largest hydro station at Manapouri, and the Wellington wind turbine.
The company supplies energy to the country’s single biggest electricity customer, the Comalco aluminium smelter at Bluff, while at the other end of the customer scale it serves householders and businesses nationwide from a purpose-built retail operations centre in downtown Christchurch.
Meridian Energy has interests in South Island hydro development opportunities, research and development investments in superconductor and fuel cell technologies and wind generation opportunities.
It employs about 200 people at offices in Christchurch, Wellington, Twizel and Sydney.
- Waitaki River system
The Upper Waitaki system begins at Lake Tekapo, a storage lake with about 800 GWh of storage capacity, which represents about 22 percent of the country’s hydro storage.
Water passes through the Tekapo A power station and is diverted by a purpose-built hydro canal to Tekapo B station on the shores of Lake Pukaki.
Lake Pukaki has some 1600 GWh of storage capacity – about 44 percent of New Zealand’s total. Water is drawn by canal from both Lakes Pukaki and Ohau to supply Ohau A , B and C power stations, before being discharged into Lake Benmore.
After passing through the Benmore power station, the water flows down the Waitaki River through the Aviemore and Waitaki stations.
- Manapouri/Te Anau system
The combined storage of Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri is 380 GWh. The Manapouri power station lies 178m underground on the western shore of Lake Manapouri, and is accessed via a 2km road tunnel.
After passing through the station the water flows into Doubtful Sound via two 10km-long tailrace tunnels.
All of the stations are designed to be remote controlled from a control centre at Twizel.
Meridian Energy Australia Ltd owns the Southern Hydro power stations in Victoria.
The ten stations have a total generating capacity of 540MW, with about 940 GWh of output.
The company also owns hydro generation facilities at five small dams in New South Wales and Victoria, generating a total of 62 MW.