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TrustPower Windfarm Expansion Confirmed

Thursday, 1 December 2005

TrustPower Windfarm Expansion Confirmed

TrustPower has confirmed its Tararua wind farm will be generating enough power for an additional 42,000 homes in time for winter 2007.

TrustPower Chief Executive Keith Tempest says that from a generation perspective, this is the "best news this year", and notes that the local community deserves significant credit for helping to get the wind farm expansion project from the concept stage to final confirmation in 13 months.

"It is thanks to the support and cooperation of the local community that we have been able to progress this project without having to resort to settling issues in the Environment Court, as is often the case with projects of this nature. I believe this also reflects the way in which TrustPower approaches community consultation, and our efforts to ensure that everybody is well informed about our intention and any impacts well in advance of the resource consenting process."

Mr Tempest says another key factor in the projects favour was the support received from Government, via the Climate Change Office. The project was awarded carbon credits in recognition of the sustainable nature of wind generation, and the contribution the Tararua expansion will make to helping New Zealand meet its commitments under the Kyoto protocol for climate change.

A resource consent for an additional 31 turbines at the Tararua site, providing additional generation capacity of 93MW, was granted in July. Since that time, TrustPower has been finalising contracts for the supply of turbines, transmission routes and the civil works required for the project which is expected to cost $185 million.

A contract has now been confirmed for the supply delivery, installation and commissioning of 31 turbines by Danish company Vestas Wind Technology.

Shipments of the 3MW turbines will begin in late 2006, with commissioning of the wind farm expected to take place in early 2007 and be completed during July. The contract also includes the supply of a remote control system, and a five-year service and maintenance agreement.

Site work for the project, which is expected to inject more than $50 million into the local economy during the 18-month construction period, will begin in January 2006.

TrustPower's existing 103 Tararua turbines, which already supply enough power for 32,000 homes, are connected into the local network. The additional 31 turbines will not only be larger, but will be connected via a new substation into the Transpower 220,000 volt Haywards/Bunnythorpe line. This will result in a strong national grid connection, and a significant boost to generation capacity in an environment where demand growth has recently been outstripping new supply.

The first 48 Tararua wind turbines were commissioned in 1999, with an additional 55 added in 2004. This latest expansion will increase the total number of turbines on TrustPower's Tararua site to 134, supplying enough power for the equivalent of 74,000 homes.

ENDS

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