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Business as usual at wind farm as new owners sought

Source: 
Whanganui Chronicle

Two parties have put in offers to buy Tilt Renewables, which operates the new Waipipi Wind Farm near Waverley.

Trading of the company’s shares had ceased while it considers the offers.

Its usual operating model was to build wind and solar energy generation and operate it long-term, Tilt Renewables development manager Clayton Delmarter said. It has owned its two Tararua wind farms for more than 20 years.

The only asset it has sold so far is the Snowtown 2 Wind Farm, which was sold in December 2019 to get enough capital to build another large wind farm.

Tilt Renewables is two-thirds owned by Infratil Limited, and Infratil decided to review its assets last year. The offers to buy Tilt Renewables followed.

“It was a little bit out of the blue, but ultimately we are a publicly-owned company and there can be changes in shareholding at any time,” Delmarter said.

He was unable to talk about the present situation. However, NZME reported the first offer was a combined one by Mercury NZ Limited, which already owns nearly 20 per cent of Tilt. The offer was in combination with a group of Australian renewable energy providers.

In it, Mercury would keep Tilt’s four New Zealand wind farms, including Waipipi, and the Australian investors would have the Australian wind and solar farms.

Then a second mystery offer came in, which NBR said was from a Canadian pension fund.

In the meantime it’s business as usual, Delmarter said, and that will continue.

“Ultimately, nothing really will change day-to-day with the operation of the wind farm.”

Waipipi will still be maintained for 30 years, with about four staff on-site or nearby. Agreements with landowners and stakeholders, and an agreement to provide a community fund, will be honoured.

Winds were lighter in February and March and generated less electricity than anticipated, Delmarter said, but they have picked up.

“We are getting some really good production off the site.”

Meanwhile, the transtasman travel bubble will have to be more firmly established before an open day is held at Waipipi Wind Farm.

The company had hoped to hold an open day in April. It was now more likely to be June, Tilt Renewables development manager Clayton Delmarter said.

Delmarter is currently in Melbourne, and keen to get everyone involved together to celebrate the successful project. There will be plenty of notice before the occasion, he said.

Whanganui residents may have noticed red lights above the 980ha wind farm site at night. They are there because the Civil Aviation Authority rules that all objects above a particular height must be lit up at night and visible to aircraft.

The lights are attached to the highest part of nine turbines on the periphery of the farm.

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