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Tilt proceeding with Waipipi wind farm

By Gavin Evans

Aug. 29 (BusinessDesk) - Tilt Renewables is proceeding with its $276 million Waipipi wind farm on the southern Taranaki coast.

The project comprises 31 Siemens turbines, each with a capacity of 4.3 megawatts, and is expected to deliver about 455 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually. Genesis Energy has already agreed to buy the output under a 20-year contract.

Tilt said its board approved the investment today and that financial close on the deal is expected within the coming month.

“The business is delighted to be able to commit to a material expansion of our New Zealand wind portfolio without the need for any new investment from shareholders,” chief executive Deion Campbell said in a statement.

“Funding for the project has been underpinned with competitive project debt financing, with remaining project costs funded by internally generated equity, including funds set aside for reinvestment, rather than paid to shareholders as a final dividend.” Tilt didn't pay a final dividend for the year ended March, although it did make a first-half payout.

Tilt shares last traded at $2.65 and have gained about 17 percent this year. The firm is controlled by Infratil and Mercury NZ.

The 133 MW project will be the first major wind development in New Zealand since Meridian Energy commissioned the 60 MW Mill Creek project north of Wellington in 2014.

The turbines, each with a rotor diameter of 130 metres, will be the largest built in New Zealand physically and by generation capacity. Construction of an 11-kilometre, 110 kilovolt transmission line will be managed by Transpower.

The project was consented in 2017 with an estimated cost then of $300 million for up to 48 turbines. The site lies near the coast between Patea and Waverley and was previously mined for iron sands.

Melbourne-based Tilt says Fletcher Building-owned Higgins Contractors will complete the civil works for the project. ElectroNet Services will install the other electrical equipment on site.

(BusinessDesk)

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