Jump to content

Meridian Energy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Meridian Energy Limited
Company typePublic
IndustryElectricity generation
Electricity retailing
PredecessorElectricity Corporation of New Zealand
Founded16 December 1998; 25 years ago (1998-12-16)[1]
Key people
Neal Barclay, Chief Executive
RevenueDecreaseNZ$2,319 million (2017)[2]
IncreaseNZ$653 million (2017)[2]
IncreaseNZ$197 million (2017)[2]
Total assetsIncreaseNZ$8,665 million (2017)[2]
Total equityIncreaseNZ$5,082 million (2017)[2]
OwnerNew Zealand Government (51.02%, 2016)
Number of employees
959 (2017)[2]

Meridian Energy Limited is a New Zealand electricity generator and retailer. The company generates the largest proportion of New Zealand's electricity, generating 35 percent of the country's electricity in the year ending December 2014, and is the fourth largest retailer, with 14 percent of market share in terms of customers as of December 2015.[3][4]

Meridian was one of three electricity companies formed from the break-up of the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (ECNZ) in 1998–99, taking over the Waitaki River and the Manapouri hydro schemes. Originally a state-owned enterprise wholly owned by the New Zealand Government, the company was partially privatised in October 2013 by the Fifth National Government, with the government retaining a 51.02% shareholding.

Today, Meridian operates seven hydroelectric power stations and one wind farm in the South Island of New Zealand, and four wind farms in the North Island.


Meridian originated from the break-up 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.[5]

As part of reforms, local electricity companies were split into lines and retail and the retail portion sold off. Meridian initially acquired the retail base of Northpower, Centralines, Scanpower, and Network Waitaki, and later acquired Orion's retail base from NGC.

  • 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.
  • 9 December 2004 – then Prime Minister Helen Clark officially opened the Te Āpiti Wind Farm – Meridian's first wind farm.
  • 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 Mākara 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.[6]
  • 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.
  • 8 June 2007 – The White Hill Wind Farm is officially opened.[7]
  • 29 April 2009 – Prime Minister John Key officially turns on the first 15 turbines on the West Wind wind farm.[8]
  • 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.[9]
  • 30 September 2013 – 49 percent of shares in the company officially offered for sale at between $1.50 and $1.80[10]

Power stations[edit]

Meridian Energy is located in New Zealand
Ohau A
Ohau A
Ohau B
Ohau B
Ohau C
Ohau C
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 a single turbine in Brooklyn, Wellington. In total, Meridian has a total installed capacity of 2,754 MW in New Zealand and 201 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
Mill Creek Wind Ohariu Valley, NW of Wellington 26 60 2014 [11]
Ōhau A Hydroelectric Waitaki River 4 264 1140 1979
Ōhau B Hydroelectric Waitaki River 4 212 958 1984
Ōhau 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 Mākara, west of Wellington 62 143 600 2009
White Hill Wind near Mossburn, Southland 29 58 230 2007


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

Development projects
Name Type Capacity Location Status
Harapaki Wind 176 MW 34 km northwest of Napier Under construction[13][14]
Mt Munro Wind 60 MW Near Eketāhuna Applied for consents[15]
Hurunui[16] Wind 80 MW Greta Valley, North Canterbury
Pukaki Hydro 35 MW On the Pukaki River Consents granted[17]
Manapouri amended discharge project Hydro Consents granted


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[18]
Project Hayes Wind 630 MW central Otago Cancelled January 2012[19]
Mokihinui Hydro Hydro 60 MW north of Westport Cancelled May 2012[20]
Project Central Wind Wind 130 MW Between Waiouru & Taihape, North Island Consents expired; project sold to Manawa Energy
Project Gumfields Wind near Ahipara, Northland Cancelled
Mohaka Hydro 44 MW Mohaka River, south of Wairoa Cancelled
Rototuna Wind 500 MW Northland west coast Cancelled 2017[21]
Windy Peak[22] Wind 8 km SE of Martinborough Cancelled


Carbon Footprint[edit]

In 2006, Greenpeace judged Meridian as the only "green" electricity company in New Zealand.[23] 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.[24][25]

In 2008, Meridian issued and sold the first carbon credits issued and sold under the JI program of the Kyoto Protocol.[citation needed]

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 had 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.[26] In July 2009, the Commerce Commission concluded that Meridian's statements of carbon neutrality were not misleading.[27]

Electric Vehicles and Charging Programme[edit]

In 2015 Meridian began converting its business fleet to electric vehicles in an effort to reduce carbon emissions.[28] In early 2019 Meridian joined the EV100 initiative, it has committed to its light passenger vehicle business fleet becoming 100% electric by 2030.[29] In August 2019 the company won the Deloitte Energy Award for a Low Carbon Initiative for its work on electric business fleet conversion.[30]

Kākāpō Recovery Programme[edit]

Meridian Energy are National Partners of the Department of Conservation Kākāpō Recovery Programme since 2016. Kākāpō are an endangered New Zealand native parrot. The involvement helps fund research and initiatives relating to genetics, nutrition, disease management and finding new sites.[31] Meridian staff are also involved through providing electrical support and volunteers to the remote pest-free islands the kākāpō are surviving on.

Project River Recovery[edit]

In 1990 Meridian established Project River Recovery,[32] recognising the impacts of hydroelectric development from the 1930s to the 1980s on the Waitaki's braided rivers and wetlands.[33] Project River Recovery's work is run by the New Zealand Department of Conservation and includes intensive weed control, predator control, construction of wetlands, and research and monitoring programmes. When Tekapo A and Tekapo B were sold to Genesis Energy in 2011, the electricity company joined the compensatory funding agreement.[34]

Waiau River Recovery[edit]

In 1996 the Waiau Fisheries and Wildlife Enhancement Trust was formed to mitigate and improve the Waiau River from impacts by the Manapouri Hydro Station. The trust was established in partnership with the Waiau Working Party and ECNZ (now Meridian Energy Limited).[35] The area covered is from Te Wae Wae Bay in the south to Lake Te Anau in the north. The work focuses on enhancing wetlands, waterways and riparian plantings.


Wellington Wind Sculpture Walkway[edit]

Wellington, New Zealand's capital city, is well known for wind and the Meridian Energy Wind Sculpture walkway celebrates this. In 2007 the four sculptures won Best Public Art [36] and the final piece was opened in May 2010.[37] The five sculptures are the 'Zephyrometer' by Phil Price, 'Urban Forest' by Leon van den Eijkel (in collaboration with Allan Brown), 'Akau Tangi' by Phil Dadson, 'Tower of Light' by Andrew Drummond and 'Pacific Grass' by Kon Dimopoulos. The sculptures are managed by the Wellington Sculpture Trust [38]


In 2013 Meridian became the principle partner of the KidsCan Charity.[39] In April 2019 the company committed to a further three years of support, helping provide lunches, raincoats, shoes and warm clothing to kids in need.[40]

Power Up Community Fund[edit]

Meridian supports communities near its generation assets through the Power Up fund.[41] This includes promoting conservation, community and educational efforts in seven communities around New Zealand.


In 2019, Meridian was found to mislead consumers when they implied the electricity they retailed was 100% renewable after a complaint was brought to the Advertising Standards Authority by rival retailer Electric Kiwi.[42][43] Additionally, Meridian Energy was found to have pushed up power prices in December 2019 by unnecessarily spilling water from its South Island dams that could have been used for generation, according to a preliminary ruling from New Zealand's Electricity Authority.[44]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Meridian Energy Limited (938552) – Companies Office". Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "2017 Annual Report". Meridian Energy. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Energy in New Zealand". MBIE. August 2015. ISSN 2324-5913. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Market share snapshot". Electricity Authority (New Zealand). Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  5. ^ Meridian to be listed in October. 3 News NZ. 16 September 2013.
  6. ^ "Decision W031/2007" (PDF). Environment Court. 14 May 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
  7. ^ "White Hill wind farm". Meridian Energy. Archived from the original on 14 October 2008.
  8. ^ "West Wind Powers Wellington". NZ Wind Energy Association. 29 April 2009.
  9. ^ "Genesis Energy set to acquire Meridian Energy hydro plants". Power-Gen Worldwide. PennWell Corporation. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2011.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Govt sure Kiwis will reach Meridian goal. 3 News NZ. 30 September 2013.
  11. ^ "Mill Creek switches on to Wellington wind" (Press release). Meridian Energy. 14 May 2014. Archived from the original on 19 May 2014.
  12. ^ "Our Projects". Meridian Energy.
  13. ^ "Harapaki wind project". Meridian Energy. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
  14. ^ Voorend, Blair (7 August 2019). "Hawke's Bay wind farm closer to construction after 14-year wait". ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  15. ^ Crombie, Nathan (26 January 2012). "Consent bid for Eketahuna wind farm". Wairarapa Times-Age. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  16. ^ "Wind farm planned for North Canterbury". Radio New Zealand. 4 April 2010.
  17. ^ Bruce, David (16 June 2011). "Pukaki hydro scheme gains resource consent". Otago Daily Times.
  18. ^ Rutherford, Hamish (24 February 2013). "Meridian's $70m for hydro schemes heads down drain". Fairfax NZ News.
  19. ^ Edens, John (19 January 2012). "Meridian quits $2 billion wind project". Fairfax NZ News.
  20. ^ Wood, Alan (22 May 2012). "Meridian pulls plug on Mokihinui project". Fairfax Media (via Stuff.co.nz). Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  21. ^ "Kaipara settlement trust joins one billion tree scheme". 5 April 2019. Retrieved 5 July 2023.
  22. ^ Katterns, Tanya (15 May 2010). "Martinborough wind farm put on hold". Dominion Post. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
  23. ^ Anne Beston (21 September 2006). "Prizes to switch electricity firms". The New Zealand Herald. The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
  24. ^ "Meridian has certified carbon neutral electricity" (Press release). Meridian Energy. 26 February 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  25. ^ "New Zealand to be carbon neutral by 2020" (PDF). Ecos 7. April–May 2007. p. 136. Retrieved 26 November 2007.
  26. ^ Newstalk ZB (14 June 2008). "Meridian's carbon neutral claim 'false' – MP". The New Zealand Herald. The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
  27. ^ "Carbon market problems expected to be solved – minister". Radio New Zealand. 26 July 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  28. ^ Perkins, Matthew (1 December 2018). "Meridian Energy". Smartrak. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  29. ^ Dobson, Geoff (4 March 2019). "Meridian plugs in to global EV community". EV Talk. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  30. ^ "Meridian Energy - EV business fleet initiative | Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards". www.energyawards.co.nz. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  31. ^ "Kakapo Recovery Programme". Kākāpō Recovery. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  32. ^ "Project River Recovery". Meridian Energy.
  33. ^ "Project River Recovery". doc.govt.nz. 21 October 2019.
  34. ^ "Project River Recovery". www.doc.govt.nz. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  35. ^ "About Us | Waiau Trust". waiautrust.org.nz. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  36. ^ "Wind Sculpture Walk. Wellington. New Zealand. - Scenic at Night on Waymarking.com". www.waymarking.com. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  37. ^ "Final Meridian wind sculpture unveiled". www.scoop.co.nz. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  38. ^ "Wellington Sculpture Trust | Walks". www.sculpture.org.nz. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  39. ^ "KidsCan and Meridian team up for another three years". www.scoop.co.nz. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  40. ^ "KidsCan and Meridian team up for 3 more years to help change kids' lives | KidsCan". www.kidscan.org.nz. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  41. ^ "Meridian Power Up Fund gives Sports and Recreation a boost in the Waitaki". www.voxy.co.nz. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  42. ^ "Energy company stoush: Electric Kiwi lays complaints against Meridian Energy". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  43. ^ "Meridian ad ordered off TV over misleading environmental claims". RNZ. 12 October 2020. Retrieved 30 April 2024.
  44. ^ "Ruling shows the cost of state owned energy giant deliberately busting its dams". The Spinoff. 30 June 2020. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  45. ^ "Powershop splits in two, international growth on the cards". Stuff. Retrieved 20 June 2019.

External links[edit]