29 October 2019 – Energy Minister Dr Megan Woods used a yellow spade to mark the start of construction of Mercury’s Turitea wind farm on the wind-swept Tararua Ranges.
L-R Grant Smith (Palmerston North Mayor), Prue Flacks (Mercury Chair), Wiremu Te Awe Awe(Rangitaane o Manawatu), Dr Megan Woods (Minister of Energy), Fraser Whineray (Mercury CE), Danielle Harris (Rangitaane o Manawatu), Manahi Paewai (Rangitaane o Tamaki nui a Rua).
The ceremony today formally celebrated another milestone in New Zealand’s renewable energy development: the start of construction of the foundations for the first 33 of 60 consented wind turbines at Turitea.
Mercury chief executive Fraser Whineray said that the Turitea wind farm will contribute to New Zealand’s sustainable, low emissions future, as well as to our country’s energy freedom by making more renewable electricity available for homes, businesses and vehicles around the country.
“We are pleased to welcome Minister Woods to this very windy part of the Manawatū, and to help celebrate this milestone with us and the community,” he said.
The 119MW Turitea wind farm will start sending power to the national grid at the end of next year, producing enough renewable electricity for 210,000 cars (about 470 GWh per annum on average).
Mercury will make an initial investment of $256m for the first 33 of 60 consented wind turbines at Turitea and transmission infrastructure for the whole site. Further wind energy development is consented for the other 27 turbines at Turitea and the proposed 53 turbines at nearby Puketoi, giving a total potential investment by the company of around $1 billion in wind energy in this area. This is similar to Mercury’s investment in geothermal power generation in the 2000s, which helped displace significant amounts of thermal (gas and coal) generation.
“Mercury began to explore a strategy of adding wind generation to our portfolio of renewable generation assets nearly 15 years ago. We’ve come a long way since then, and we’d like to acknowledge and thank local iwi, councils and landowners for their work with us as we progress this development,” Mr Whineray said.
• Watch: fly-through Mercury’s consented wind farms at Turitea and nearby Puketoi (02:30 mins)
• Hi-res photography available on request
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