Mercury supplied enough renewable generation to power around 18 percent of New Zealand’s current electricity needs through renewable generation, such as wind, hydro and geothermal.
“Stage 1 of the Kaiwera Downs Wind Farm is the next cab off the rank in our pipeline of new renewable generation,” chief executive Vince Hawksworth said, adding the company had several other renewable energy projects underway.
“This $115m project to build stage I at Kaiwera Downs comes as we near completion of our $480m Turitea Wind Farm in the Manawat?.”
The 10 turbines to be constructed as part of stage one at Kaiwera Downs was expected to add enough new renewable power to run 20,000 homes or 66,000 electric vehicles (EVs).
The second part of the construction will complete the 240MW that had been consented on the site.
“While there is continued uncertainty around the future of NZAS (aluminium smelter at Tiwai), New Zealand needs more renewable generation to be built,” Hawksworth said.
“We’ve staged the construction of this wind farm so that the initial 10 turbines are constructed now, with the ability to swiftly follow with the rest, and we continue to assess commercial conditions and prepare to proceed with other projects in our pipeline.”
Hawksworth said Mercury had become New Zealand’s largest wind generator, from having no wind generation in less than 12 months.
“We are embarking on a major period of growth in a rapidly changing world that is increasingly recognising the urgency to decarbonise.”
Mercury’s wind generation produced 1269 gigawatts last year, which will increase as Turitea South comes on stream, with Kaiwera following in late 2023.
Turitea Wind Farm is scheduled for completion mid 2023, and will be New Zealand’s largest wind farm with enough generation to power approximately 375,000 EVs or 120,000 households.