MainPower's 37,000 customers consume 560 million units of electricity annually and this consumption is growing. With no energy generation in North Canterbury or Kaikoura the region is reliant on external sources for energy and could be vulnerable in times of national energy shortage.
Why Local Generation?
MainPower has been investigating options for renewable distributed generation in and around the North Canterbury region since 2004. In that time it has built a mini-hydro station at Cleardale and gained resource consent for a wind farm at Mt Cass.
MainPower currently investigates generation projects where they can have a combined benefit of supporting our network and our community.
We believe the main benefits of distributed generation include:
New Zealand has a target of 90% renewable generation by 2020, up from a present day average of 75%. This is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and help to slow down climate change. To achieve this, most new generation built, should be renewable. There are also sound economic reasons to invest in renewable generation the most obvious being that the fuel is free. Initial build costs can be high but after that the running costs are very predictable and in the long run the supply cost to the customer should be lower. There may be situations where diesel generators are needed to help ease peak network loads but these are only likely to be a backup to the network or to renewable supplies.
For more information on renewable generation, visit the EECA website.
Landfill Gas Generation
MainPower would like to congratulate Transwaste Canterbury for the recent addition of 2MW of landfill gas generation from the Kate Valley Landfill in Waipara. We understand this to be just the first stage of development with more gas and more generation to be added.
Anyone who meets the applicable safety, technical, operational and commercial requirements can connect to our network. For more information on connecting to our network with, visit the distributed generation page.
Hydro generation accounts for around 65% of New Zealand’s total electricity production and is common in New Zealand due to our geographic advantages of high rainfall and steep rivers.
Wind provides about 5% of New Zealand’s energy at present with most wind farms being developed in the North Island.