New Zealand electricity provider Contact Energy has provided details of a new wind farm, Hauauru ma raki, that is being developed on farmland to the south of Port Waikato.

The 650MW project could produce enough electricity to power approximately 250,000 homes and help avoid the production of around 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere per annum.

Alongside the wind farm, Contact announced its intention to construct a flexible, fast-start 100MW gas-fired peaking plant at the company’s Stratford power station site to help support increasing levels of wind generation during demand peaks and periods of low wind or hydro generation.

David Baldwin, CEO of Contact Energy, said: The proposed wind farm was strategically important as it was located in the North Island and close to major load centers of Hamilton and Auckland. He said the final size of the wind farm was yet to be determined, but it has the potential to be up to 650MW depending on a number of factors including landowner agreements and resource consenting.

The vision of 90% of New Zealand’s electricity coming from renewables now hinges to a large extent on the ability to consent renewable projects without undue delay and connect them to the national transmission system. Active support for renewables from regulatory agencies will be very important to this vision being realized.