New Zealand

New Zealand

Three big ones for the east coast

While the bulk of wind development has been in the windy west of New Zealand, three new projects have been announced for the country's eastern coast. Permission is being sought for the 120 MW Titiokura project in the Napier region, a consent application for a 240 MW project on property neighbouring the Titiokura site is expected to be lodged this month, and a 9 MW project, the Mokairau Wind Farm, 30 kilometres north-east of Gisborne, is in the early stages of consultation.

Permission to develop the 48 MW first stage of Titiokura is being sought by Unison Networks. The electricity network company has lodged a resource consent application to install 16, 3 MW turbines and hopes to apply for consent for the 72 MW second phase within the next month. The 120 MW project is expected to cost NZ$ 200-300 million (EUR 114-171.4 million) and full commissioning of both phases is scheduled for December 2007.

The $NZ90 million (EUR 51.36 million) first phase will take up to nine years to reach financial payback, adds the company, which is working on the project with generation company Hydro Tasmania. This link could put Denmark's Vestas ahead of the list for turbine supply, as it has a strong relationship with Hydro Tasmania already. Unison's Jon Nichols stresses, however, that no decision on turbine supply has been made, adding the contract for supply will be issued for tender, as it would be "foolish not to do so."

Meanwhile, Hawke's Bay Wind Farm is readying its consent application for 240 MW nearby. The project is planned to consist of 60-80 turbines, which the company hopes will supply power to the national grid by 2007.

The third project, the much smaller Mokairau Wind Farm, is proposed by local electricity distributor and port management company Eastland Infrastructure. While turbine supply is yet to be decided, Vestas is again believed to be the front runner, with three of its 3 MW machines or five 1.65 MW turbines under consideration. The project has already been awarded 80,000 Kyoto Protocol emission credits in the second round of the New Zealand government's Projects to Reduce Emissions Program.

To date, 10 million credits have been put up for tender. The Mokairau Project is expected to achieve abatements of over 80,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide between 2008-2012 following its commissioning in early 2007. The company has already announced it will forward-trade its carbon credits to generate funds to offset the initial project costs. At current international prices, that could net the company NZ$1.2 million (EUR 685,636).

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