Meridian Energy Limited has confirmed it has suspended offering new Renewable Energy Notes under the investment statement dated 29 October 2009 following the decision from the Ministerial Review into the Electricity Market to transfer ownership of two of its South Island hydro stations to its sister SOE Genesis.
Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee today announced that the Tekapo A and Tekapo B hydro stations – the first two of the eight-station chain operated by Meridian on the Waitaki – will transfer to Genesis.
Meridian has ceased to accept all new applications for the Notes and maturing Notes will be unable to be rolled over. Existing Notes are unaffected by this suspension.
The suspension will be in place while Meridian studies the detail of the announcement and considers the effect of the announcement on the offer documentation.
…the larger purpose of the reforms is to stimulate more retail electricity competition in the North and South Islands by giving the state-owned power companies a greater mix of northern and southern assets.
He also makes it clear that he doesn’t like Meridian Energy, apparently because they don’t pay him enough of a dividend. This is unadulterated crap.
In my opinion, the main reason that Brownlee doesn’t like the Meridian is because he is an advocate of using fossil-fuel powered stations. He has made it quite clear over the years that he’d prefer the rapid introduction of polluting fossil fuel fired power stations for a quick unsustainable short-term fix. It appears he is too impatient or lazy to wait for the slower buildup of renewable energy.
The reason that Meridian Energy has been gaining customers in the North Island away from its base generation facilities is because it doesn’t use fossil fueled power stations. Lyn and I deliberately switched to Meridian Energy purely because it was the only way to encourage the generation of renewable energy.
We are relatively price insensitive about power (unlike DPF) and deliberately selected a company that was generating the types of power we wanted to encourage. The table over the page makes it clear what those power sources are. We are also keenly aware of, and understand (unlike DPF) the long-term costs of running fossil fuel power plants and are highly sensitive about paying for them. I understand the science. Lyn has been documenting the effects.
Brownlee has just arbitrarily interfered in our ‘free-market’ choices, which is a perfect example of the difference between the rhetoric of the NACT government and what it actually does. The NACT state is one of arbitrary nanny state decisions made for purely personal reasons – just look at Double Dipton..
The diesel-fired Whirinaki power station is the dirtiest and most expensive occasionally operating in the country. I think that Brownlee wants to remove the ability of customers to use market signals about the sources of power generation so he can get the more of his polluting fossil-fuel stations running. This is something that many environmentally aware customers do not want, and is why there has been the flood of customers to Meridian over the last few years.
We will shift away from Meridian Energy if they fire up that station. If Meridian wants to retain our account, then they should take this opportunity to decommission the Whirinaki immediately. It fits the profile of their sunk money in their marketing campaigns. Such a strong statement of intent would probably win them more customers.
If this reduces the dividends to the government, then that is the price of Brownlee decisions, effectively from a result of a unexplained decision by its shareholders that directly undercuts the companies marketing. The shareholder should take the cost. Meridian should suspend all dividends and put the money into investing in the renewable projects that are shown over the page. If they need more generating capacity than they have, then they are big enough to ensure that they can purchase renewable power from other generators.
In other words Brownlee and the NACTs should get by on a reduced income while we increase our renewable power sources.
In the meantime there is an opportunity for a broking power company to start up that only offers power generated from renewable energy sources. When someone can convince me that they have achieved it, we’ll switch our account if Whirinaki is still operational.
If anyone lives near Whirinaki power station, I’d be interested in getting a few people to observe if the station is turned on. This is for publicity reasons.
The clock is ticking for Meridian Energy.
Meridian Energy operates nine hydroelectric power stations and three wind farms. It also operates the 230 kW Wellington Wind Turbine in Brooklyn, Wellington
|Name||Type||Location||No. turbines||Max. capacity (MW)||Annual generation (average GWh)||Built||Notes|
|Manapouri||Hydroelectric||Lake Manapouri, Fiordland National Park||7||730||4800||1969|
|Ohau A||Hydroelectric||Waitaki River||4||264||1140||1979|
|Ohau B||Hydroelectric||Waitaki River||4||212||958||1983|
|Ohau C||Hydroelectric||Waitaki River||4||212||958||1985|
|Te Ä€piti||Wind||Ruahine Ranges||55||91||320||2004|
|Tekapo A||Hydroelectric||Waitaki River||1||26||160||1951|
|Tekapo B||Hydroelectric||Waitaki River||2||160||833||1977|
|West Wind||Wind||west of Wellington||15||34||2009||Under construction
15 turbines currently generating, full wind farm (62 turbines, 143 MW) due for completion late 2009
|White Hill||Wind||near Mossburn, Southland||29||58||230||2007|
Projects being developed by Meridian Energy include the following .
|Project Gumfields||Wind||near Ahipara, Northland|
|Rototuna||Wind||500 MW||Northland west coast|
|Te Uku||Wind||84 MW||near Raglan, Waikato|
|Mohaka||Hydro||44 MW||Mohaka River, south of Wairoa|
|Project Central Wind||Wind||130 MW||between Waiouru and Taihape, North Island|
|Martinborough||Wind||8km SE of Martinborough|
|Mill Creek||Wind||71 MW||Ohariu Valley, north-west of Wellington|
|West Wind||Wind||143 MW||west of Wellington||Under construction
Completion due late 2009
|Mokihinui||Hydro||60 MW||Mokihinui, north of Westport|
|North Bank tunnel||Hydro||280 MW||on the Waitaki River||water rights granted 2009|
|Hunter Downs||Irrigation||Waitaki River, South Canterbury|
|Project Hayes||Wind||630 MW||central Otago|
|Ross Island Wind Energy||Wind||1 MW||Ross Island, Antarctica|
|Manapouri amended discharge project||Hydro|