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Meridian awards major wind farm contracts

Meridian Energy awards major contracts for Te Apiti wind farm

Meridian Energy is moving on to the next phase of development on its Te Apiti wind farm on the north side of the Manawatu Gorge.

Today it announced that the turbines for Te Apiti, which will be New Zealand’s most productive wind farm, will be supplied by Danish company NEG Micon. The NM72 turbines with 1.65 MW generators will be on 70 metre towers and the blades will measure 36 metres in length. Project Te Apiti will generate enough electricity for 32,300 homes.

Meridian Energy Chief Executive Keith Turner said he was delighted to secure megawatt-class machines for Te Apiti: ”this means wind power moves up to a new level in New Zealand”.

The 55 turbines will be delivered to the wind farm site from early next year and Te Apiti will be providing electricity into Transpower’s national grid by the spring of 2004.

NEG Micon is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of wind turbines and has supplied about 20% of the world’s installed wind power capacity including wind farms in Australia, Europe and the United States. It is listed on the Danish Stock Exchange.

Meridian also announced the civil engineering contractor for Te Apiti as Higgins Contractors Ltd, based in Palmerston North. Higgins Group is a family-owned and run contracting business operating throughout the North Island and employing more than 500 staff. Its primary roles will be to construct the 21km of access roads over the 1150 hectare wind farm site and to excavate and concrete the foundations for the 55 turbines.

“This project is integrating the best of international and local expertise to bring Meridian’s first New Zealand wind farm to production,” Dr Turner said.

“We look forward to Te Apiti’s sustainably generated energy helping to meet the country’s growing demand.”

Construction is expected to begin on site later this month.

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