Electricity retailer and generator TrustPower will be producing power for an additional 16,000 homes before winter next year, as a result of giving the go-ahead for a major expansion of its Tararua wind farm, according to the company.Tararua, New Zealand – May 22, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] TrustPower Chief Executive Keith Tempest said the company is delighted that the long-planned expansion has finally been given the green light. “The key factor in making this project viable has been the government’s early granting to TrustPower of renewable carbon credits,” said Tempest. “The wind farm extension will help New Zealand avoid having to burn fossil fuels to meet its energy supply needs, saving approximately 70,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year.” Tempest added that he is delighted that Minister of Energy Pete Hodgson and the Climate Change Office have been so supportive of the expansion, helping to lift the project from potential to reality. The project, costing NZD$60 million (US$35 million), will see the existing 48-turbine wind farm, already the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, more than double in size to 103 turbines. Orders for the 55 additional turbines, which will increase the wind farm’s output to 68 MW, have been placed with Danish manufacturer Vestas, the manufacturer of the existing turbines commissioned in 1999. TrustPower made the decision to use the same make and model of turbine because of their proven suitability for the site and to realize economies in maintenance and spare parts requirements. Tempest said approximately NZD$20 million (US$11.5 million) of the project cost would be spent in New Zealand on site-works and locally produced components such as the lattice towers on which the turbines are mounted. The workforce on the site is expected to range between 15 and 40 people. “Because the resource consents for this expansion are already in place, the project will now proceed quite quickly. We expect the first new turbine to be operational by mid-December this year, with the entire 55 up and running by mid-May next year, in time to help reduce the demand for thermal generation to supplement hydro storage next winter,” Tempest said. TrustPower currently generates approximately 60 percent of the power it sells to residential and small commercial customers, and the expansion will increase that to 65 percent.