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Meridian reports $96.1 million half-year profit

Meridian reports $96.1 million half-year profit

State-owned electricity generator and retailer Meridian Energy has reported a $96.1 million profit for the six months ending December 31 2004 in its half-year report tabled in Parliament today.

Chairman Francis Small says the recent strong financial performance by the company has come on the back of much better hydrology compared to the dry conditions of 2003 when a $67 million result was recorded for the same period.

He says this will help Meridian continue to invest in new renewable generation to support the country’s energy future.

“We are demonstrating the advantages of renewable energy in meeting New Zealand’s future electricity needs. There are significant resources of wind and water in New Zealand to generate electricity from.”

Dr Small says developing new renewable generation will help avoid the country becoming dependent on imported fossil fuels.

A highlight for the company during the half-year was the commissioning of the Te Apiti windfarm in the Manawatu; the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere and which produces enough electricity to supply some 45,000 average homes.

Also pleasing was a High Court decision in November confirming Meridian’s access to water in the upper Waitaki basin; the location of the Waitaki hydro chain which produces about a quarter of the country’s electricity.

However, Dr Small says the company is now concerned by a new threat to that chain, in the form of the draft water allocation plan announced by the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Board.

He says the plan as it stands seriously affects the company’s ability to store water in summer at times of high rainfall and low electricity use, so that it is available for winter generation when electricity demand is high and rainfall is low.

If the plan were implemented it could cause winter blackouts and lead to price increases.

Dr Small says the issue is critical to security of electricity supply across the whole of New Zealand.


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