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50 years of clean energy for New Zealand

21 October 2006

Roxburgh Dam – 50 years of clean energy for New Zealand

For 50 years the Roxburgh Dam has provided New Zealand with large amounts of clean, renewable electricity and helped underpin New Zealand’s transformation into a modern, first-world economy.

Today Contact Energy opened the doors of the Roxburgh Dam to members of the public, former workers, community leaders and the Governor General of New Zealand, The Honourable Anand Satyanand PCNZM, to help celebrate the dam’s contribution to New Zealand over 50 years of service.

Contact Energy Chief Executive, David Baldwin, said the Roxburgh Dam had come to symbolise New Zealand’s hydro-electric generation system and had provided much-needed energy security for the country over many years.

Commissioned in 1956, after four difficult years of construction, the 320 megawatt Roxburgh Power Station was the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, producing enough renewable electricity to power around 200,000 homes.

To celebrate the operation of the Roxburgh Dam for 50 years, Contact Energy used the occasion to announce the sponsorship of a new two kilometre walking trail around the dam area.

The walking trail will be known as the Commissioner’s Flat Walkway and will include a viewing area above the Roxburgh Dam, bench seats along the route, and a number of information kiosks detailing the history of the area.

The project will be built by the Teviot Valley Walkway Committee, which has successfully developed five other walking trails in the area. The walkway will be funded by Contact Energy and built on Contact’s land. It is expected the walkway will be completed by the middle of 2007.

David Baldwin said Contact was delighted to be able to support this project and to thank the local community for its ongoing support for the dam.

"Over the last 50 years the Roxburgh Dam has become a defining feature of the Central Otago region. We appreciate the support that the local community has given to the dam, and the hundreds of people who have worked here over the decades.

"The popularity of walking trails in Central Otago is attracting a new form of tourism to the region and Contact believes the new Commissioner’s Flat walkway will continue to help Roxburgh develop," he said.

Mr Baldwin said that as support for clean, renewable energy continued to grow, the Roxburgh Dam would continue to play a critical role in New Zealand’s energy sector.

"The importance of this dam to New Zealand, some 50 years after it was built, is a tribute to the hundreds of men who built it from scratch, with the most basic tools and technology," said Mr Baldwin.

"Today we are celebrating the first 50 years of the Roxburgh Dam. We have every confidence the Roxburgh Dam will still be here, generating valuable electricity for New Zealand, in another 50 years from now."


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