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Power to Northland as hydro scheme expands

Power to Northland as hydro scheme expands

A hydro energy project in Titoki, Whangarei supported by Kyoto carbon credits has been officially opened by Energy and Climate Change Minister David Parker today.

Northpower’s Wairua Falls hydro scheme is an upgrade to a run-of-river hydro electricity scheme that will produce 5.4GWh per year – enough to power 675 homes with renewable energy.

“The project will help us reach our goal of producing 90 percent of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2025,” David Parker said. “And it will help New Zealand tackle climate change, because it means fewer greenhouse gas emissions.”

Wairua is one of the oldest continuously operating power schemes in New Zealand. It is owned and operated by Northpower Limited, a company owned by Northpower Electric Power Trust (NEPT) on behalf of Whangarei and Kaipara electricity consumers.

Northpower chairman Warren Moyes said the future of the Wairua Hydro Scheme had been strengthened for at least another 40 years as result of the upgrade.

“With the recent reinvestment it will continue its life as an important working asset and will contribute to the government’s climate change goals.”

The hydro scheme received more than 17,000 Kyoto credits through the government’s PRE (Projects to Reduce Emissions) scheme. The upgrade to the Wairua hydro power station is the first of twelve PRE hydropower projects to be fully commissioned and is the only hydro scheme in Northland.

“In 2005 Northpower was successful in gaining support from the government in the form of tradable emissions units and the potential value of these units made it possible to proceed with the project which at that time was considered to be a marginal investment,” Warren Moyes said.

“We are encouraged by recent government policy changes which will remove some of the impediments and obstacles when it comes to investment in renewable energy. The Minister has done a great deal in a short time to shift policy regulation away from blocking ventures like Wairua,” he said.

Northpower says it now intends to investigate other renewable electricity generation opportunities in the region.

ENDS

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