18 Dec 2010

Whirinaki generator experiment soon to expire

10:24 pm on 18 December 2010

A seven year experiment in back-up electricity generation is a step closer to its demise.

The former Labour Government established a diesel burning generator at Whirinaki, in Hawke's Bay, which was supposed to generate electricity when conventional systems were failing.

It was installed in 2003 during the second in a series of power crises.

But a report last year found it made matters worse by giving the big generating companies an alibi for failing to generate enough electricity themselves.

The government's preferred option was to attach the generator to Meridian Energy, but that company refused.

Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee says the scheme was very costly.

Whirinaki is now for sale subject to it being kept operational for at least three years as a transitional arrangement.