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Tilt says Waverley among key near-term projects

Tilt says Waverley among key near-term projects

By Gavin Evans

Aug. 28 (BusinessDesk) - Tilt Renewables says its consented wind project at Waverley on the southern Taranaki coast is among three it is focusing on for near-term development.

The Melbourne-based company is advancing an 80-turbine, 336 MW project at Dundonnell in Victoria. That development, the 130 MW Waverley site, and the 300 MW Rye Park project in New South Wales are the firm’s “key near-term focus,” chair Bruce Harker said in a presentation for the company’s annual meeting today.

While Australia’s National Energy Guarantee – dropped by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull a week ago – may be on hold indefinitely, decarbonisation of Australia’s electricity sector is not, he said.

“We remain confident of the opportunity to secure value where our projects are inherently competitive and positioned for opportunity,” Harker said.

“In New Zealand, we see positive ETS policy developments and, with the upcoming closure of the Huntly steam units, we see near-term opportunity for efficient ‘right-sized’ North Island wind projects.”

New Zealand generators are trying to position themselves for when demand growth warrants construction of the next big generator. Meridian Energy believes that will be after 2020. Last week it said its Maungaharuru project north of Napier is the best, but will need its consents renewed so that it can use larger, more efficient turbines.

Tilt has seven operating wind farms in Australia and New Zealand and a string of development options in both countries.

It runs the Tararua and Mahinerangi wind farms here and has just completed the A$105 million, 54 MW Salt Creek wind farm in Victoria. It is preparing to proceed with the A$600 million, two-year Dundonnell project in the same state.

The firm, now subject to a takeover by major shareholders Infratil and Mercury NZ, plans to make a final investment decision on Dundonnell in the December quarter, chief executive Deion Campbell said.

That will be shaped by the level of uptake achieved under Victoria’s renewable energy scheme, and confirmation of the project’s business case given the renewed uncertainty at the federal policy level.

While Dundonnell is the firm’s primary focus, Campbell said off-take discussions have started for Rye Park, the Waddi wind and solar project in Western Australia, Waverley and another unnamed solar project.

In an update for shareholders, Tilt said the commissioning of Salt Creek helped push the firm’s July production to a record of more than 220 GWh.

Output in the four months ended July was 705 GWh, 51 percent more than a year earlier and 10 percent above the long-term average. Tilt noted that production in June last year had been an all-time low.

The shares last traded at $2.28 on the NZX. The Infratil-Mercury offer is priced at $2.30 a share.


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