Wellington Scoop

Mercury spending extra $208m to build NZ’s largest wind farm

Report from RNZ
Power company Mercury will spend another $208 million building the country’s largest wind farm near Palmerston North.

It had resource consent to build up to 60 turbines on the site in Turitea, but in March it initially agreed to erect only 33, at a cost of $256m. It will now add the remaining 27 turbines.

“Being able to complete the Turitea wind farm at its full scale contributes further to New Zealand’s sustainable, low emissions future by making more renewable, Kiwi-made electricity available for homes, businesses and vehicles throughout the country,” Mercury chief executive Fraser Whineray said in a statement.

“The combination of long-term electricity demand projections, synergies from already committed transmission infrastructure, construction and operations on site, and co-benefits with the Waikato hydro system mean completion of the Turitea wind farm makes sense.”

The completed wind farm would produce as much as 840 gigawatt hours of electricity a year.

Mr Whineray said the Zero Carbon Act meant there would be a need for significant amounts of renewable electricity.

“Renewable energy projects are about the very long term, and we believe the case is compelling for the completion of this leading North Island wind farm site, situated close to the national grid, supporting New Zealand demand into the future.”


  1. Kay W, 12. November 2019, 17:36

    Same amount spent on solar would be less environmentally harmful and more productive. Windmill farms are chronically over sold in my opinion.

  2. greenwelly, 13. November 2019, 9:47

    @kay W, Solar is not more productive than wind in NZ… Mercury will spend a total of $464 million for an annual output of ~840Ghw, or around 55c per Kwh of annual capacity. Refining NZ have committed to spend $37 million to build a 26.7MW solar farm at Marsden Point, it will annually generate around 37Ghw, so its installed cost for each annual Kwh is $1.
    That’s nearly double the cost of wind.

  3. Kay W, 13. November 2019, 14:17

    greenwelly: Mercury’s figures are not considering the days without wind or the harmful environmental impacts of windfarms. Do you want birds to be killed daily by wind turbines?
    Solar power is a smart energy solution (but not ripoff-for-profit solar farms).

  4. greenwelly, 14. November 2019, 11:49

    @Kay, mercury’s Figures DO include wind free days, they are using a capacity utilisation ratio of ~40% which is pretty much the same ratio Meridian have generated from its 143MW Westwind wind farm over the last 10 years.

  5. Kay W, 14. November 2019, 13:50

    Mercury’s figures are estimates, failing to take into account a host of infrastructure and transmission costs. Numbers generated to get consent, credits, grants and funding for wind farms. Solar is way better energy.

  6. Dave B, 14. November 2019, 14:38

    @ Kay – Do you worry about birds and other little animals getting killed by motor vehicles? This happens all the time wherever there are roads. At least wind-farms (and therefore the harm they cause to birds) are confined to a few specific areas.

  7. Northland, 14. November 2019, 17:05

    Dave B how do you manage to drag cars into a discussion about wind farms ? FWIW we should support wind farm electricity generation – it seems the perfect thing for windy NZ

  8. Dave B, 14. November 2019, 19:06

    Northland – I knew someone would pull me up for that!