Hawke’s Bay Airport today announced that it has entered into a partnership with Trustpower Ltd as part of the proposed commercial solar farm development to be built on land adjacent to the runway. The partnership will allow the development to move to the next phase, which will involve community consultation and seeking resource consent for the construction and operation of the farm.
Upon completion of the sale of its multi-utility retail business, Trustpower will be rebranded Manawa Energy, and will be New Zealand’s largest independent electricity generator and renewables developer, representing around 5% of New Zealand’s existing generation capacity. The airport development will be Trustpower’s first solar energy project, and is an example of the partnership approach Manawa Energy will take to funding and developing renewables projects in New Zealand.
Chief Executive David Prentice says the partnership with Hawke’s Bay Airport shows the company is making good on its commitment to increasing New Zealand’s renewable generation capacity. “We are excited to be part of this important development in Hawke’s Bay, and look forward to working with our partners to deliver locally sourced renewable energy to the region” says Prentice.
The airport development will be Trustpower’s second renewables project in the region, after it commissioned the 4-megawatt Esk River Hydro-electric Power Scheme in northern Hawke’s Bay, which has been generating since 2013.
Hawke’s Bay Airport Board Chair Wendie Harvey was thrilled with news of the partnership. “It’s fantastic the solar farm project is going forward with Manawa Energy; a company that understands and is aligned to Hawke’s Bay Airport’s commitment to safeguarding the future and creating the long-term resilience and sustainability of airport land.”
“We can now move ahead with next steps of the project, which will ultimately help us achieve our vision of carbon neutrality by 2030.”
Under the current plans, when complete the solar farm will have 52,000 solar panels capable of generating 24 megawatts of electricity, or 36,000 megawatt hours. The output would be enough to power 5000-6000 households per year.