25 Aug 2010

Meridian expects 15% of generation portfolio outside NZ

8:02 am on 25 August 2010

Power company Meridian is expecting up to 15% of its generation portfolio to be based offshore in coming years.

The electricity generator and retailer made an underlying profit of $251.9 million in the year to June, an increase of 29% on the same period the previous year, due to high hydro lake levels and more generation.

The state-owned company is focused on developing renewable projects, and will stump up $500 million to help develop the southern hemisphere's largest windfarm in Victoria.

It also developed its first solar power plant in the US during the year and commissioned three turbines at Ross Island in Antarctica.

Chief financial officer Paul Chambers expects the Australian development to become profitable shortly, and while the company is expanding offshore, it remains focused on New Zealand.

In New Zealand, Meridian generates 93% of its electricity from hydro sources, and 7% percent from wind power.

Mr Lusk says it may be eight to 10 years before commercial solar projects become viable in New Zealand.