Wind Power and Geothermal Progress in New Zealand

Mighty River Power will start installing wind-monitoring masts at the proposed Turitea wind farm site south east of Palmerston North, New Zealand. The first masts to be erected, said the company’s General Manager External Affairs Neil Williams, will be three 60-meter testing towers — with an 80-meter tower following in about two months. The data collection to follow will fully assess the potential of the Turitea site.

“The wind monitoring could take up to 18 months and will confirm the amount of generation available from the site. If the monitoring results are favorable the company would consult with landowners and the community about the proposed wind farm, before making a decision about proceeding and applying for resource consents,” said Williams. “It’s still very early days but this is a significant step forward for the potential project and our wind generation program. If the proposed wind farm proceeds it would improve the security and reliability of the region’s electricity supply,” said Williams. In another project, Mighty River Power has been awarded resource consents to build a 70-80 MW ($250 million) geothermal power station at Kawerau. The resource consent applications were lodged with the local authorities last August for building it on industrial land owned by Norske Skog Tasman. “A final decision to go ahead will be dependent upon the nature of any appeals, but a positive outcome would see much-needed additional generation capacity added to New Zealand’s electricity system,” said Doug Heffernan, Mighty River Power, Chief Executive. Heffernan said Mighty River Power was undertaking the country’s largest geothermal exploration and expansion program in the last 20 years.

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