Developers of the Te Rere Hau windfarm in the Manawatu have confirmed orders for 14 further wind turbines.
The $80 million Te Rere Hau project was opened in September and now has five turbines installed and operating.
It is a joint venture between NZ Windfarms Ltd (NZWL), which has 50 percent, and Australia’s Babcock and Brown and NP Power.
NZWL, which started the project, was formed by Windflow Technology in 2002 and entered a sale and purchase agreement before the joint venture was formed for Windflow to provide up to 97 turbines for Te Rere Hau.
The turbine agreement was transferred to the joint venture and provided for the orders to be confirmed in about four batches over three years.
The 14 New Zealand-designed and built Windflow 500 turbines now on order will be erected later this year at the 243ha project site in the Tararua Ranges near Palmerston North.
The planned full complement of 97 turbines is expected to generate sufficient power for 18,000 homes when the project is finished in 2009.
Windflow ceo Geoff Henderson said the formal confirmation of the 14-turbine order was a major milestone for the company because, with the 50 percent project ownership by NZWL’s joint venture partners, it was a sale to a major customer at arms-length.
It came after the five existing turbines successfully finished a 45-day reliability run on Christmas Eve.
NZWL ceo Chris Freear said “the turbines simply haven’t missed a beat” during one of the windiest periods for many years.
That showed the benefit of selecting turbines designed specifically for New Zealand’s harsh wind conditions, he said.
In the past Windflow had problems with strong gusts of winds on its turbines under test conditions, with the gearing on one prototype blowing up in strong winds.
Mr Freear said NZWL was investigating sites for future wind farm developments and expects to make further announcements in due course.
The company was also committed to building smaller, smarter, high return wind farms generating electricity for consumption in the surrounding region.
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