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Consultation to commence at Marsden Point

Consultation to commence at Marsden Point

Electricity generator Mighty River Power today announced the commencement of a public consultation process as part of seeking resource consents for a coal-fired generation plant at its Marsden Point site, south of Whangarei.

The company plans to obtain consents for a plant with a capacity of up to 320 MW by refitting into the existing Marsden B oil-fired plant – a plant never commissioned following its completion in 1978.

“We have been looking at options for Marsden Point for some time,” says Chief Executive Doug Heffernan. “While we ruled out recommissioning the Marsden B plant to run on oil as a dry year reserve plant earlier this year, we continued to look at alternate thermal generation options and believe coal is a good option for this site.

“Marsden Point has sound infrastructure with a good deep-water port for bringing in coal, access to transmission and cooling water and a location in a growing market in Northland with additional straightforward existing transmission access to the Greater Auckland region.”

Dr Heffernan said the company was looking at a number of new generation projects to meet New Zealand’s growing demand for electricity supply and assist in meeting future requirements.

“No one fuel will meet that growing demand; however options as to how future requirements will be met need to be explored now. Trade-offs between environmental, economic and social well being and the cost of providing that generation need to be made,” he said.

Dr Heffernan said the announcement that Genesis Energy will proceed with the development of Huntly E3P will support the growth in New Zealand’s energy requirements over the next 2-3 years.

Marsden would help meet the growth in electricity demand after 2008 and reduce the threat to security of supply if no new gas supplies are developed. Subject to Resource Management Act approvals, the station could be operational in 3 to 5 years, between 2008 - 2009.

”Mighty River Power is working towards the preparation of an Assessment of Environmental Effects report (AEE) and that process includes consultation with the community and other interested groups.

“We have already established working relationships with many of these groups and have kept them advised about our plans. It is important to us to ensure that community concerns are considered as we work on this project.

“Details such as coal stockpiling, transporting it from the port to the site, air emissions and the operation of the plant itself will all be explored in detail by our teams and with the community. Background information about the Marsden site, the need for new electricity generation and other benefits of the project will also be discussed.

“It will take some time for Mighty River Power’s team to complete the AEE process but I expect community consultation on findings of the environmental studies to probably take place in October.

“We’ll also be holding another Marsden power station open day on 16 October 2004 and public meetings to ensure people have access to the information they need about our plans for the site,” Dr Heffernan said.

Mighty River Power operates a diverse generation portfolio including a nine-station hydro system on the Waikato River, geothermal, gas and biomass operations.

This combination of assets provides 13% of the country’s energy needs and up to 22% during peak demand.


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