NZ Windfarms to enter Alliance with Powerco

8 October 2007

The partners in the Te Rere Hau Wind Farm, near Palmerston North, have agreed with Powerco, one of New Zealand’s largest electricity and gas distributors, to form an alliance to build the new transmission assets that will connect the wind farm to the National Grid.

Under the alliance, Powerco Transmission Services will design, build, finance and own the new electrical reticulation and transmission assets, and will lease them to the Te Rere Hau Joint Venture. The wind farm will be connected to the TrustPower substation in the Tararua Ranges. 

The Te Rere Hau Joint Venture comprises NZ Windfarms (50 percent) and a combined NP Power and Babcock & Brown Windpower (50 percent). The first Stage of Te Rere Hau has been operating since September 2006 and supplying electricity to the local lines network. Development work is under way for the remaining stages.

The chairman of NZ Windfarms, Derek Walker, said the alliance agreement was another major step in the company’s development.

"Completion of the connection will remove the present constraint to Te Rere Hau operating at full capacity as it is built – and it provides for ongoing operation and maintenance of the reticulation and transmission assets, supported by one of New Zealand’s major lines companies.

"The alliance means that NZ Windfarms and its partners will not be required to commit capital for development of the reticulation and transmission assets. It will thus enable us to focus on completing construction of the generation assets and developing options for new wind farming sites."

NZ Windfarms, established in 2002, is the only pure wind farming company listed on New Zealand Exchange. Earlier in 2007 the company completed a $75 million public offering to fund the ongoing development of Te Rere Hau, and the creation of new wind farm projects in other locations around New Zealand.

Powerco Acting Chief Executive Nigel Barbour said Powerco was committed to working with generation businesses looking to develop new projects in the North Island.

"With Powerco’s local knowledge and engineering expertise we are well placed to work with wind farm developers to build the connection assets they need to connect back into the local electricity network or the National Grid." 

Powerco is New Zealand's second largest electricity and gas distribution company. Its network area covers the upper central and lower central North Island, servicing approximately 415,000 consumers, representing 46 percent of the gas connections and 16 percent of the electricity connections in New Zealand.