RENEWABLE ENERGY

CommComm gives green light to NZ wind farm

THE New Zealand Commerce Commission is allowing Hastings-based electricity lines company Unison Networks to build a Hawkes Bay wind farm in conjunction with Hydro Tasmania.

CommComm gives green light to NZ wind farm

The Electricity Industry Reform Act restricts relationships between electricity lines businesses and electricity supply companies, usually prohibiting lines companies from owning generation businesses unless the two are run as separate entities.

The commission approved the Unison-Hydro Tasmania move because the proposed wind farm will not be connected to Unison’s own supply networks and none of the customers connected to its networks in Hawkes Bay, Taupo or Rotorua will be receiving electricity directly from the wind farm.

But the commission has declined to allow an exemption for Eastland Networks for its proposed investment in a wind farm near Gisborne, as Eastland intended to retail that wind farm electricity directly to customers on its own network.

Unison and Hydro Tasmania – which supplies about 60% of Australia’s renewable energy through hydro power stations in Tasmania – propose to build a two-stage, 80-100MW wind farm near Te Pohue, north-west of Napier, from late this year.

Hydro Tasmania also has a 50% interest in Roaring 40s – a joint venture with CLP Power Asia – to pursue renewable energy developments in Australia and overseas.

Late last week, Unison announced it was reversing its planned price hikes to avoid the commission controlling its electricity lines services as the watchdog had proposed.

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