New Zealand has completed its first major new wind farm since 2014, and the biggest in more than a decade, with the completion of Tilt Renewables Waipipi project on the country’s North Island.
Tilt says the construction of all 31 turbines has been completed at the 133.3MW project in South Taranaki and 29 of those turbines are exporting electricity to the grid.
“To safely complete construction of 31 of the largest wind turbines ever installed in New Zealand very close to the original schedule is a superb result, one not common to many large infrastructure projects and a credit to all involved in the planning and execution of the project,” Tilt CEO Deion Campbell said in a statement.
“This is despite the site being shut down for five weeks due to New Zealand’s COVID-19 pandemic response,” Campbell added.
As noted above, the Waipipi wind farm marks New Zealand’s first major wind energy project since the 71.3MW Mill Creek wind farm, which was built by Meridian Energy in the Ohariu Valley, near Wellington and commissioned in 2014.
And while it is not the country’s largest – that title goes to Tilt’s 161MW Tararua Wind Farm, which was fully commissioned in 2007 – Waipipi’s far fewer turbines (31 compared to 134 at Tararua) are the largest yet to be installed in New Zealand.
Waipipi uses 31 x 4.3MW Siemens Gamesa wind turbines, which will ultimately produce annual average electricity generation of 455GWh, enough to power around 65,000 homes. All output from the project is being purchased by Genesis Energy under a long-term off-take agreement.
“The outcome of this project is strong demonstration of the TLT team being able to deliver a complex engineering project using a multi-contract framework, whilst continuing to foster positive relationships with the local community and key project stakeholders – living up to our values of ‘we are people powered’, ‘we lead’ and ‘we get it done’,” said Campbell.
“This is a result we are proud of.”
Tilt said that construction activities at the North Island site were now winding down, with work to be focused on completing commissioning of the final two turbines.
As RenewEconomy reported last week, Tilt Renewables is in the process of reviewing a number of takeover offers from unnamed suitors and had decided to proceed to the next step with some of them, with the financial guidance of Lazard.
Tilt has been a takeover target since December 2020, when Infratil, which owns a 65.5 per cent share of the company, launched a review off the back of inquiries from parties interested in buying the roughly $1 billion stake.