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Meridian welcomes planned HVDC link upgrade

Media Release
For immediate release: Friday 7 October 2005

Meridian welcomes planned HVDC link upgrade

Meridian Energy has welcomed the announcement by Transpower of a major upgrade to the HVDC power link between the North and South Islands.

Meridian Chief Executive Keith Turner says the upgrade of the 40-year-old technology is long overdue, and will give a much-needed boost to the capacity of the link.

“The success of our electricity market is dependent on having a robust and unconstrained national grid. The HVDC link is the backbone of the grid, and this project is an important step towards that objective. It will be of benefit to all electricity consumers in the country.”

Dr Turner says the upgrade is timely, given that Meridian is preparing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the commissioning of the Benmore power station, which forms the southern terminus of the inter-island link.

“Being able to send cheaper South Island hydro power to the North Island is as vital to our electricity system now as it was back in the 1960s. And it’s also important to be able to carry North Island power south when we have low inflows into the hydro lakes – as we experienced as recently as 2001 and 2003.”

The $520 million upgrade will increase the capacity of the link from 1040 megawatts (MW) to 1400 MW. If the project is approved by the Electricity Commission, the new line could be complete by 2010.

ENDS

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