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Revamped energy centre officially opened

Media Release, For immediate release: Friday September 19, 2003

Revamped energy centre officially opened

Associate Energy Minister Harry Duynhoven today officially opened the upgraded central Dunedin boilerhouse which supplies steam to the city's hospital, university, Cadburys Confectionery and New Zealand Towel Supplies.

The facility¹s owner, Meridian Solutions, has spent some $3.5 million on upgrading the energy facility, mainly through the installation of a baghouse filter system to remove dust from gases discharged from the landmark chimney.

Meridian Solutions, a business unit of Meridian Energy, took over the ownership and operation of the energy facility from the Otago District Health Board in June last year following their strategic decision to outsource the operation of the facility.

The business¹s General Manager, Mike Suggate, says Meridian Solutions made a commitment to get the facility up and running in a cleaner and more energy efficient manner within a year of taking it over from the Otago District Health Board, and had fulfilled that promise.

³Tests show that there is a forty-fold reduction, in excess of 40,000kg, of ash per year pumped out of the chimney,² he says. That is round 4 cubic metres of dust per day. ³These PM10 emissions can cause respiratory problems, so the removal of such a large quantity from Dunedin¹s air will make a major contribution to the health of Dunedin people.²

The completion of the baghouse filter and an associated new boiler control system was a commitment by Meridian Solutions under its contract with the ODHB, and is among the many steps the company is taking to ensure best-practice operation and environmental compliance and the facility.

Since the takeover by Meridian Solutions not only the emissions of the facility, now known as the Dunedin Energy Centre, but its appearance and operational efficiency have been considerably improved.

In addition, Mike Suggate says comments from delighted Dunedin residents have been flooding in, with regard to the virtual disappearance of the grey smoke plume that once poured from the chimney.

Guests attending today¹s official opening were given a tour of the facility. [ends]

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