28 Oct 2022

Meridian Energy tees up solar, battery and wind projects to meet green energy goals

1:18 pm on 28 October 2022
Renewable energy concept - photovoltaics and wind turbines on a grass field. 3d illustration.

Meridian has seven large-scale projects at various stages of development. Photo: 123RF

Meridian Energy is accelerating its renewable energy projects as the sector moves to decarbonise by 2030.

The company was one of a group of big power generators and lines companies which commissioned a report on future decarbonisation options from the Boston Consulting Group.

It suggested $42 billion of investment by the end of the decade in new electricity generation, distribution, storage and other technology.

Meridian's general manager of development Guy Waipara said the business was willing to meet the challenge head-on with solar, battery and wind projects in the pipeline.

He said the first lot of work could be done but firms would have to balance further investment needs against other pressures such as shareholder returns.

"We're pretty confident about the first tier," Waipara said.

"Further down the track, all companies are going to have to think about how they manage their balance sheets, their capital allocation and dividends.

"The imperative is there but it's how do you do it and how do you solve the problem we've got in front of us."

Meridian has seven large-scale projects at various stages of development.

These include a solar plant with battery storage near Northland's Marsden Point to be completed in two years, while it also has a second battery option site at Bunnythorpe near Palmerston North.

The Harapaki wind farm in Hawke's Bay will be on stream next year and will power up to 70,000 homes once completed.

Another project in its infancy will see resource consent lodged early next year for a wind farm at Mount Munro near Eketahuna in northern Wairarapa.

Waipara said the rush to decarbonise had also seen overseas players eyeing up the local market to scope out solar projects.

"The sector has been through periods of growth before but the growth we are looking at, over the next decade or so, far outstrips anything most of us have experienced.

"It is going to be a challenge but if you talk to all electricity companies, they're all focused on growth."

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