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Meridian welcomes EECA findings on wind and hydro

Media Release
For immediate release: Friday 2 July, 2004
Meridian Energy welcomes EECA findings on wind and hydro power

Electricity generator and retailer Meridian Energy has welcomed the results of a survey by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, which shows overwhelming public support for wind and hydro power.

Wind power came out top in the EECA-sponsored nationwide survey of attitudes towards electricity generation, closely followed by hydro.

About 82 percent of respondents approved or strongly approved of wind as a generation source for electricity, followed by about 79 percent expressing approval or strong approval of hydro-electricity.

Meridian chief executive Keith Turner says the survey results emphasise the strong public preference for electricity generated from renewable sources.

“New Zealand is fortunate in having such excellent renewable resources for generating power, and these results show a very clear preference for using these as our primary fuel sources.

“Hydro power has served this country well for many decades in delivering reliable, reasonably priced electricity. But we have only recently begun to appreciate the true value of hydro and wind generation in terms of their benefits to our environment, which all New Zealanders hold so dear.”

Dr Turner says Meridian has a long heritage in hydro-electricity as the owner of the generating facilities on the Waitaki river and at Manapouri. It was this heritage the company had sought to build on with Project Aqua, which it reluctantly decided to discontinue in March.

“Given the results of this survey, it is an additional disappointment that we were unable to proceed with Aqua, but we are certainly throwing our energies into developing wind generation.”

Meridian is well advanced with construction of what will be the country’s biggest wind farm at Te Apiti in the Tararuas, on the north side of the Manawatu Gorge.

First power is expected from Te Apiti in about a month, and the windfarm is expected to be producing at its full capacity of 90 megawatts (MW) by the end of the year.

[ends]

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