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Meridian consulting on Central Otago wind farm

Media Release for immediate release 19 May 2006

Meridian consulting on Central Otago wind farm

Meridian Energy announced today that it is beginning consultation with communities about its wind farm proposal on the Lammermoor Range west of Dunedin.

“We are calling the proposal Project Hayes in honour of one of Central Otago’s pioneers – Eben Ernest Hayes – who was one of the first people to recognise the commercial potential of wind power in the region,” Chief Executive Dr Keith Turner said.

Ernest Hayes was an engineer inventor based at Oturehua who built and used a wind mill to power his engineering works from 1910. His most famous invention is the wire fence strainer but he is also credited with inventing cattle stops and a device for lifting fence standards. He also produced wind mills for farm use.

Project Hayes is a wind farm development that would be developed in stages, with the first stage of about 150 MW. Subsequent development would take place as demand growth justifies with a potential of up to 630 MW. The development is on freehold farm land and can accommodate up to 176 turbines.

“The great thing about wind power is it maintains the same land use without emitting any pollution,” said Dr Turner.

Meridian is holding three information days on Project Hayes next week at the following locations between 10 am and 3 pm:

Wednesday 24 May at the Middlemarch Hall;

Thursday 25 May at the Patearoa Bowling Club;

Friday 26 May at the Ranfurly Rugby Clubrooms.

“We want to consult fully with the communities that are affected now and throughout the resource consent process for Project Hayes. This renewable energy project will be able to provide a significant contribution to meet the growing South Island demand. It will enable us to conserve the water in the hydro lakes and assist with security of supply in the South Island,” Dr Turner said.

“If the project proceeds it will create many significant growth opportunities for businesses and employment in the region. We even hope some parts of the wind turbines would be made within the region, providing real economic spin off,” he said.

ENDS

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