Meridian Energy

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Meridian Energy
Type State-owned enterprise
Industry Electricity generation
Electricity retailing
Predecessor(s) Electricity Corporation of New Zealand
Founded 1 April 1999 (1 April 1999)
Headquarters Wellington, New Zealand
Key people Mark Binns, Chief Executive
Revenue Increase NZ$2,570,245,000[1]
Operating income Decrease NZ$476,609,000[1]
Profit Decrease NZ$74,640,000[1]
Total assets IncreaseNZ$8,692,775,000[1]
Total equity DecreaseNZ$4,825,680,000[1]
Website www.meridianenergy.co.nz

Meridian Energy Limited is a New Zealand state-owned electricity generator and retailer. The company generates the largest proportion of New Zealand's electricity, generating 32 percent of the country's electricity in the year ending 31 December 2009,[2] and is the fourth-equal largest retailer, with 12 percent of market share in terms of customer as of December 2009.[2]

Meridian owns and operates seven hydroelectric power stations and one wind farm in the South Island of New Zealand, three wind farms in the North Island, and one wind farm in South Australia. Meridian owns and operates a single turbine in Wellington, the Brooklyn turbine and has another wind farm under construction outside Wellington, Mill Creek. It is one of two major electricity generators to only generate electricity from renewable sources (the other being TrustPower), and the only electricity generator in New Zealand to commit itself to only generate electricity from renewable sources.

History[edit]

Meridian originated from the breakup of the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (ECNZ) in 1999 as a result of the reforms of the New Zealand electricity market. Meridian's share of ECNZ was corporatised as a state-owned enterprise with its own board of directors and with two Ministerial shareholders: the Minister of Finance and the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises. In 2013 it was partially privatised by the fifth National Government of New Zealand.[3]

  • 2001 - Meridian purchased five mini hydro-power stations in Australia. These stations linked with dams used primarily for irrigation, and have a total generating capacity of 62 MW.
  • September 2001 - Meridian purchased the South Island customer-base of Natural Gas Corporation (NGC), at the time New Zealand's largest electricity retailer. The purchase came towards the end of an exceptionally dry autumn. Low hydro-levels had driven the wholesale market spot prices to very high levels. NGC had purchased the customer-base when Canada's TransAlta quit New Zealand. NGC re-branded itself as OnEnergy to escape the poor reputation of the "TransAlta" brand. OnEnergy found itself with insufficient generation capacity to stand the high winter market prices, and had made the critical mistake of not purchasing any hedge contracts. It attempted to raise its retail prices, but its customers then flocked to other retailers. Finally, after suffering huge losses, NGC had perforce to quit the retail sector, selling its customer-base to two of the Government's companies: Meridian and Genesis Energy. At that point the New Zealand electricity market became further vertically integrated, and many have come to believe that this adversely affected competition in the retail electricity market.
  • April 2003 - Meridian extended its operations in Australia with the purchase of Southern Hydro, increasing its Australian generating capacity by 540 MW.
  • Southern Hemisphere Winter 2003 - Low hydro inflows and storage levels again resulted in exceptional wholesale market spot prices. As a consequence, the retailers TrustPower and Freshstart abandoned market areas where they had no generation. This strengthened Meridian's dominance of the South Island customer-base.
  • 29 March 2004 - Meridian cancelled Project Aqua, a controversial 524 MW power scheme for six dams and a man-made canal on the Lower Waitaki River in North Otago. The scheme allegedly represented the last opportunity for large-scale hydroelectric development of this magnitude in New Zealand. Abandoning the venture cost Meridian NZ$38.7 million. - Meridian stopped the scheme because of uncertainty over rights to use the water, growing costs, and the difficulties and uncertainties with obtaining consents under the Resource Management Act legislation. In July 2004, Meridian announced an independent audit of the abandoned scheme.
  • 2 June 2005 - Meridian announced a proposal to develop a wind farm west of Wellington, Project West Wind with up to 70 wind turbines with a total capacity of 210 MW, built across 55.8 square km on rural land near Makara at the south-western tip of the North Island. A local pressure group, the Makara Guardians, opposed the scheme. Successful application for resource consent for the project was announced on 21 December 2005. The consent was subsequently appealed and upheld in May 2007.[4]
  • 30 November 2005 - Meridian completed the sale of its Australian operation, Southern Hydro, for A$1.42 billion (NZ$1.52 billion) to Australian Gas Light Company. Meridian had steadily expanded and upgraded its assets in Australia since purchase, including commissioning a 91 MW wind-farm. The sale commanded a hefty premium, driven by new demand for renewable energy-generation because of mandatory Australian requirements that electricity retailers sell a proportion of renewable energy.
  • 1 June 2011 - The sale of Meridian Energy's Tekapo A and Tekapo B hydroelectric power stations to Genesis Energy took effect. The sale was part of a package of government reforms aimed at improving the electricity sector.[7]
  • 30 September 2013 - 49 percent of shares in the company officially offered for sale at between $1.50 and $1.80[8]

Power stations[edit]

Meridian Energy is located in New Zealand
Hydro
Hydro
Wind
Wind
Manapouri
Manapouri
Benmore
Benmore
Aviemore
Aviemore
Ohau A
Ohau A
Ohau B
Ohau B
Ohau C
Ohau C
Waitaki
Waitaki
Te Apiti
Te Apiti
Te Uku
Te Uku
West Wind
West Wind
White Hill
White Hill
Location of power stations owned and operated by Meridian Energy in New Zealand.

Meridian Energy owns and operates seven hydroelectric power stations in the South Island - six on the Waitaki River and at Manapouri. It also owns and operates five wind farms in New Zealand and Australia, and a single turbine in Brooklyn, Wellington. In total, Meridian has a total installed capacity of 2,639 MW in New Zealand and 71 MW overseas.

Name Type Location No. turbines Capacity (MW) Annual generation
(average GWh)
Commissioned Notes
New Zealand stations
Aviemore Hydroelectric Waitaki River 4 220 942 1968
Benmore Hydroelectric Waitaki River 6 540 2215 1965
Manapouri Hydroelectric Lake Manapouri, Fiordland National Park 7 800 4800 1971
Ohau A Hydroelectric Waitaki River 4 264 1140 1979
Ohau B Hydroelectric Waitaki River 4 212 958 1984
Ohau C Hydroelectric Waitaki River 4 212 958 1985
Te Āpiti Wind Ruahine Ranges 55 91 320 2004
Te Uku Wind near Raglan, Waikato 28 64.4 2011
Waitaki Hydroelectric Waitaki River 6 90 496 1934
Wellington Wind Turbine Wind Brooklyn, Wellington 1 0.23 1 1993
West Wind Wind Makara, west of Wellington 62 143 600 2009
White Hill Wind near Mossburn, Southland 29 58 230 2007
Overseas stations
Mt Millar[9] Wind southwest of Whyalla, South Australia 35 70

Under construction[edit]

Name Type Location No. turbines Capacity (MW) Annual generation
(average GWh)
Expected commissioning Notes
Mill Creek Wind Ohariu Valley, north-west of Wellington 26 60 mid-2014 First power May 2014[10]
Mt Mercer Wind 30 km south of Ballarat 64 131 2014 construction[11]

Proposed[edit]

Projects being developed by Meridian Energy include the following.[12]

Meridian Energy Development Projects
Name Type Capacity Location Status
Project Gumfields Wind near Ahipara, Northland
Rototuna Wind 500 MW Northland west coast
Mohaka Hydro 44 MW Mohaka River, south of Wairoa
Project Central Wind Wind 130 MW between Waiouru and Taihape, North Island consents granted
upheld by Env Court
Windy Peak[13] Wind 8 km SE of Martinborough consultation[13]
Mt Munro Wind 60 MW near Eketahuna applied for consents[14]
Hurunui[15] Wind 80 MW Greta Valley, North Canterbury
Pukaki Hydro 35 MW on the Pukaki River consents granted[16]
Hunter Downs Irrigation Waitaki River, South Canterbury
Manapouri amended discharge project Hydro Consents Granted

Cancelled[edit]

Name Type Capacity Location Status
Project Aqua Hydro 520 MW South Canterbury Cancelled March 2004
North Bank tunnel Hydro 280 MW on the Waitaki River Cancelled January 2013[17]
Project Hayes Wind 630 MW central Otago Cancelled January 2012[18]
Mokihinui Hydro Hydro 60 MW north of Westport Cancelled May 2012[19]

Carbon footprint[edit]

In 2006, Greenpeace judged Meridian as the only "green" electricity company in New Zealand.[20] In 2007, Meridian announced that it had received CarboNZero certification from Landcare Research confirming that the generation and retailing of its electricity was carbon neutral.[21][22]

In June 2008, National's Climate Change spokesman Nick Smith complained to the Commerce Commission that Meridian's claim of carbon neutrality in its advertising was misleading as Smith considered that Meridian has to buy thermally generated power during dry years to supply its customers. A spokesman for Meridian said they stood by the validity of the certification of their carbon-neutral status.[23] In July 2009, the Commerce Commission concluded that Meridian's statements of carbon neutrality were not misleading.[24]

Subsidiaries[edit]

  • Arc Innovations, developing smart meters that are being installed in its Christchurch customers’ households and enabling better use of energy.
  • Cleantech America, a solar power company based in California, USA.[25] Cleantech develops utility scale photovoltaic solar farms, such as the 5 MW CalRENEW-1 facility at Mendota, California.
  • Damwatch Services Limited, consultancy specialising in dam engineering, safety and surveillance.
  • Powershop, an electricity retail broker

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "2012 Annual Report". Meridian Energy. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Energy Data File". MED. July 2009. 
  3. ^ Meridian to be listed in October. 3 News NZ. 16 September 2013.
  4. ^ "Decision W031/2007". Environment Court. 14 May 2007. 
  5. ^ "White Hill wind farm". Meridian Energy. 
  6. ^ "West Wind Powers Wellington". NZ Wind Energy Association. 29 April 2009. 
  7. ^ "Genesis Energy set to acquire Meridian Energy hydro plants". Power-Gen Worldwide (PennWell Corporation). 2011-05-16. Retrieved 2011-06-04. 
  8. ^ Govt sure Kiwis will reach Meridian goal. 3 News NZ. 30 September 2013.
  9. ^ "Meridian to buy Australian windfarm". 11 May 2010. 
  10. ^ "Mill Creek switches on to Wellington wind" (Press release). Meridian Energy. 14 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "Mt Mercer project". Meridian Energy. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Our Projects". Meridian Energy. 
  13. ^ a b Katterns, Tanya (15 May 2010). "Martinborough wind farm put on hold". Dominion Post. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  14. ^ Crombie, Nathan (26 January 2012). "Consent bid for Eketahuna wind farm". Wairarapa Times-Age. 
  15. ^ "Wind farm planned for North Canterbury". Radio New Zealand. 4 April 2010. 
  16. ^ Bruce, David (16 June 2011). "Pukaki hydro scheme gains resource consent". Otago Daily Times. 
  17. ^ Rutherford, Hamish (24 February 2013). "Meridian's $70m for hydro schemes heads down drain". Fairfax NZ News. 
  18. ^ Edens, John (19 January 2012). "Meridian quits $2 billion wind project". Fairfax NZ News. 
  19. ^ Wood, Alan (22 May 2012). "Meridian pulls plug on Mokihinui project". Fairfax Media (via Stuff.co.nz). Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  20. ^ Anne Beston (21 September 2006). "Prizes to switch electricity firms". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 February 2011. 
  21. ^ "Meridian has certified carbon neutral electricity" (Press release). Meridian Energy. 26 February 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  22. ^ "New Zealand to be carbon neutral by 2020". Ecos 7. April–May 2007. p. 136. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  23. ^ Newstalk ZB (14 June 2008). "Meridian's carbon neutral claim 'false' - MP". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 February 2011. 
  24. ^ "Carbon market problems expected to be solved - minister". Radio New Zealand. 26 July 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  25. ^ "NZ Meridian Buys US Solar Power Facility For US$5.4 Mln". The Wall Street Journal. 19 August 2009. [dead link]

External links[edit]