Wind farm 99% reliable

The White Hill wind farm near Mossburn is proving a reliable generator of electricity and turbine reliability is rated above 99% over the past three years, Meridian Energy says.

White Hill, 6km southeast of Mossburn, opened in 2007 to mixed opinions. Some people were concerned the turbines would dominate the landscape.

A Meridian Energy spokesperson said the wind farm was performing within expectations, with 190gWh-220gWh consistently generated per annum.

Each of the 29 turbines can generate up to 58MW of electricity, enough to power 28,000 households. Meridian Energy said New Zealand has a ''world-class wind resource being situated right in the path of the Roaring 40s''. Wind at 40deg latitude south was unimpeded by large land masses.

''With its narrow islands, New Zealand has a good exposure to coastal winds and its ranges and areas of elevated terrain give localised wind speed accelerations.''

''New Zealand has one of the most consistent wind energy resources in the world, and our wind farms operate at an average of 45% of maximum capacity, compared with an international average of only 24%.''

In 2008, Meridian launched the Meridian White Hill Community Fund and twice a year projects in the three Northern Southland communities of Mossburn, Lumsden and Dipton were eligible for the funding.

At the last funding distribution in September, five projects received grants totalling $14,000.