Meridian Energy

Meridian Energy
Meridian Energy
Type State-owned enterprise
Industry Electricity generation
Electricity retailing
Predecessor Electricity Corporation of New Zealand
Founded 1 April 1999 (1 April 1999)
Headquarters Wellington, New Zealand
Key people Tim Lusk, Chief Executive
Revenue decrease NZ$2,052,987,000[1]
Operating income increase NZ$659,927,000[1]
Profit increase NZ$303,111,000[1]
Total assets increaseNZ$8,459,973,000[1]
Total equity decreaseNZ$4,931,302,000[1]

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 nine 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 each on Ross Island, Antarctica and in South Australia. 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. In 2006, Greenpeace judged Meridian as the only "green" electricity company in New Zealand.[3] Furthermore, in 2007, Meridian was certified as the first carbon neutral energy company in New Zealand,[4][5] although the status was later revoked in 2008 when the company had to buy fossil fuel-generated electricity due to inadequate rainfall to fill its hydro lakes that year.[6]



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.

  • 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.[7]
  • 30 November 2005 - Meridian completed the sale of its Australian operation, Southern Hydro, for AU$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.[10]

Power stations

Meridian Energy is located in New Zealand transparent
Ohau A
Ohau B
Ohau C
Tekapo A
Tekapo B
Te Apiti
Te Uku
West Wind
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 six wind farms in New Zealand, Australia and Antarctica, 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.

In addition, Meridian also operates some industrial combined heat and power stations in New Zealand, under its subsidiary Energy for Industry.

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 7 730 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 7 105 496 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
Ross Island Wind Energy[11] Wind Ross Island, Antarctica 3 1 2010 Supplies Scott Base and McMurdo Station
Mt Millar[12] Wind southwest of Whyalla, South Australia 35 70


Projects being developed by Meridian Energy include the following.[13]

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[14] Wind 8 km SE of Martinborough consultation[14]
Mill Creek Wind 71 MW Ohariu Valley, north-west of Wellington
Mokihinui Hydro 60 MW Mokihinui, north of Westport consents granted
Hurunui[15] Wind 80 MW Greta Valley, North Canterbury
North Bank tunnel Hydro 280 MW on the Waitaki River water rights granted 2009
Pukaki Hydro 35 MW on the Pukaki River consents granted[16]
Hunter Downs Irrigation Waitaki River, South Canterbury
Project Hayes Wind 630 MW central Otago High Court upheld Meridian's appeal and sent case back to Environment Court[17]
Manapouri amended discharge project Hydro Consents Granted
Macarthur Wind 450 MW Victoria, Australia Joint venture with AGL
Consents granted


  • 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.[18] 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.
  • Energy for Industry Limited, an industrial energy company with on-site fossil and wood waste fueled plants
  • Powershop, an electricity retail broker
  • Right House Limited, providing household advice on energy efficiency
  • Whisper Tech Limited, producer of the WhisperGen micro combined heat and power system

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "2011 Annual Report". Meridian Energy. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Energy Data File". MED. July 2009. 
  3. ^ "Prizes to switch electricity firms". The New Zealand Herald. 21 September 2006. Retrieved 4 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "Meridian Energy first NZ energy company to have certified carbon neutral electricity". Meridian Energy. 26 February 2007. Retrieved 4 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "New Zealand to be carbon neutral by 2020". Ecos 7: pp. 136. April–May 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  6. ^ "Meridian's carbon neutral claim 'false' - MP". The New Zealand Herald. 14 June 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "Decision W031/2007". Environment Court. 14 May 2007. 
  8. ^ "White Hill wind farm". Meridian Energy. 
  9. ^ "West Wind Powers Wellington". NZ Wind Energy Association. 29 April 2009. 
  10. ^ "Genesis Energy set to acquire Meridian Energy hydro plants". Power-Gen Worldwide (PennWell Corporation). 2011-05-16. Retrieved 2011-06-04. 
  11. ^ "The Ross Island Wind Energy – Stage 1 Project". Meridian Energy Ltd. 
  12. ^ "Meridian to buy Australian windfarm". 11 May 2010. 
  13. ^ "Our Projects". Meridian Energy. 
  14. ^ a b Katterns, Tanya (15 May 2010). "Martinborough wind farm put on hold". Dominion Post. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  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. ^ "Court upholds wind farm appeal". The Press (Fairfax New Zealand Ltd). 16 August 2010. 
  18. ^ "NZ Meridian Buys US Solar Power Facility For US$5.4 Mln". The Wall Street Journal. 19 August 2009. [dead link]

External links

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