Mercury NZ Ltd said today it had committed to the construction of the first 33 of 60 consented wind turbines at Turitea near Palmerston North.
Mercury has been working towards this wind farm development for 15 years and expects commissioning to begin from late 2020.
The 119MW Turitea wind farm will generate an average 470GWh/year, enough electricity to power 210,000 cars. When generation connects to the national grid at Linton, it will be New Zealand’s third largest wind farm and the first largescale generation addition to New Zealand’s capacity since 2014.
Chief executive Fraser Whineray said: “The estimated $256 million project supports the opening up of a further $750 million investment opportunity in wind energy development.”
Transmission & other infrastructure from this project is scaled to support the development of the remaining 27 turbines at Turitea and on the Puketoi range to the east, where Mercury has consents to construct a 53-turbine wind farm.
Mercury generates about 6800GWh of renewable electricity/year – 16% of New Zealand’s total electricity generation – from its hydro & geothermal stations in the central North Island. It operates Mercury Solar and has a 60kWp solar array at its Penrose research & development centre, and owns 19.99% of Tilt Renewables Ltd, which develops & operates wind farms in New Zealand & Australia.
Danish company hired to build & maintain development
Mercury has contracted with Vestas-NZ Wind Technology Ltd, a local subsidiary of the world’s largest wind turbine supplier, Vestas Wind Systems A/S of Denmark, to construct & maintain the Turitea wind farm. This arrangement consists of a full engineer, procure & construct contract and a long-term service & availability agreement.
Mercury is contracting separately with Electrix Ltd & Transpower NZ Ltd for the design & construction of the 220kV transmission line & grid connection to Linton. These transmission assets will cater for generation growth at the site, and the future development of the nearby Puketoi wind farm.
On-site construction is planned to start around August. Mercury will fund the estimated $256 million overall project cost from existing debt facilities.
Attribution: Mercury release.