New Zealand-based electricity generator and retailer, Meridian Energy, has reportedly announced plans for getting its $395 million Harapaki Wind Farm underway in Hawke’s Bay in the latter half of 2021. The announcement reportedly comes seven months after the company put the plan on halt owing to concerns regarding the closure of Tiwai Point aluminum smelter in 2021.
According to Neal Barclay, the Chief Executive of Meridian Energy, the decision to begin the construction depicts confidence that clean energy infrastructure can provide robust economic benefits.
For the record, the project will be the second largest wind farm in New Zealand with 41 turbines, each 145 meters high, and will generate 176 MW of renewable energy, which is sufficient for powering over 70,000 average households. The construction of the farm will require nearly three years and is anticipated to generate 260 new jobs.
As per Barclay, Harapaki would utilize advanced wind generation technology from Europe, setting new benchmarks for sustainable construction practices and turbine efficiency. Barclay has further stated that design reviews have reduced the amount of steel and concrete required in construction, decreasing the total carbon footprint of the project by more than 30 per cent.
The company’s vision is for Harapaki to be the most sustainable wind farm in New Zealand and one that provides transformative economic growth and accelerates the company’s objectives for climate action, added Barclay.
According to reliable sources, consents for building wind farms at the site, beside the Napier-Taupo Road, were given in 2005. The consents were provided to Unison Networks and Hawke’s Bay Wind Farm, which were purchased by Meridian in 2010 and 2011. These were then integrated as one site, were extended, and are now set to expire in late 2023.
New Zealand will be required to build more grid-scale wind generation each year for reaching its domestic and international emissions targets, meeting the demand as industry and transportation move from fossil fuels toward clean energy, stated Barclay.