New Zealand's Contact Energy to build gas fired plant

1 February 2008 - Contact Energy is likely to build yet another 100 MW gas turbine station at Stratford, in addition to the one announced three months ago.

The company says it needs to replace the 300 MW peak load generating capacity of the New Plymouth station, which is now permanently out of service.

The company announced in October it will build a NZ$140m ($110m) fast-start turbine plant, operational in 2009, next to its existing 377 MW combined-cycle gas turbine on East Rd, Stratford.

Contact's spokesman Jonathan Hill says a further similar plant is "quite possible, but I wouldn't want to speculate on when. How much generation we build at Stratford depends on a number of variables including wind".

Fast-start, flexible thermal generation is increasingly being required to meet peak cold weather demand as more wind-driven generators are built. Wind turbines only generate when there is wind and are a weakness in a power generation system.

Contact is also planning a big wind farm on the coast south of Port Waikato, capable of generating up to 650 MW.

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