New Zealand

New Zealand

Tararua city seeks big project partner for new wind farm at Turitea Reserve

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The wind-rich area of the Tararua ranges looks set to see more wind development, with nearby Palmerston North City Council seeking a commercial partner for a new wind farm at Turitea Reserve. If built, it will be the fourth wind station in the region. Nineteen organisations were invited to submit proposals and interest has already been expressed by major electricity generator-retailers Meridian Energy, TrustPower and Genesis Power, among others. Both TrustPower and Meridian operate wind farms in the region with a total of 158 turbines. New Zealand electricity and gas distributor PowerCo has suggested its new Australian owner, Prime Infrastructure, consider the project; Prime has invested in wind farms in Australia and elsewhere. TransPower, the state-owned national grid operator, has expressed concerns about future development in the area, noting that fluctuations in wind produced electricity generation are already causing headaches with its trading arrangements. TransPower has seen variations within its five minute trading periods of as much as 100 MW in generation and is concerned at the prospect of increased surges in the future. Further local development is planned by Windflow Technology, which has proposed a 52 MW project using 104 of its New Zealand turbines, and TrustPower is to expand its development by 120 MW (40 turbines). The country's Electricity Commission is calling for modelling of the likely impact of wind generation on the power system over the next five to ten years. The New Zealand wind scene has been the fastest growing energy market in New Zealand with growth of 360% in the past year.

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