Meridian Energy’s Spokesman Alan Seay said that the commissioning of the final turbine marks the closing stages of a very successful development programme.

“In a little over a year we have consented and constructed a significant new power development. This is despite the major storm and flooding in February which resulted in the loss of a substantial number of working days,” said the spokesman.

“There has been 1784mm of rain since the project started; we lost a key bridge for transporting material to the site, but thanks to the efforts of everyone involved it has made very little difference to the timetable. It’s a huge tribute to our construction partners and everyone else who had a hand,” said Seay.

Mr Seay says quite apart from being a new source of clean, renewable power, Te Apiti has provided a major tourism bonus for the region. Meridian has provided a public viewing area near one of the turbines, and a car counter installed by Tararua District Council has recorded 1441 cars visiting the site during the second week of October 2009 alone.

A study carried out by Destination Manawatu has estimated the wind farm could be worth up to $7 million to the region in tourist activity.

The Danish-built 1.65 MW wind turbines can generate enough electricity to power up to 900 average homes.