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Whirinaki reserve electricity plant near complete

Whirinaki reserve electricity plant nearly complete

The Government's Whirinaki power plant in Hawke’s Bay is nearly complete, Energy Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

The new 155 megawatt plant at Whirinaki, Hawke's Bay, will provide reserve generation for use during dry periods when hydro lake inflows are abnormally low. It will also provide back-up in case of a major generation or transmission breakdown.

“Whirinaki will help minimise the risk of future electricity shortages," said Mr Hodgson.

The plant's three oil-fired turbines have all been separately connected to the national grid and successfully tested at normal operating capacity of over 50 megawatts each. All three turbines will be run together and undergo full reliability testing over the coming weeks.

Contact Energy is managing Whirinaki’s construction on behalf of the Crown and will operate and maintain the plant. The Crown leases the site from Contact.

"We are delighted to have brought the project successfully to this stage and on time," said Contact’s Chief Executive, Mr Stephen Barrett. "Whirinaki's reserve generation capacity, along with electricity industry initiatives, will help meet New Zealand’s electricity requirements during dry periods."

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