20 Jan 2012

Wind farms held up due to high cable cost

10:29 pm on 20 January 2012

TrustPower says the high cost of using the electricity cable linking the North and South Islands makes wind farms in the south not viable.

Meridian Energy abandoned its six-year fight to build a $2 billion wind farm on the Lammermoor Range in Central Otago, saying the cost was not worth it.

The South Island's power stations pay to use the New Zealand's high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable across Cook Strait.

TrustPower community relations manager Graeme Purches says four of its South Island projects have been held up due high cable costs.

Wind Energy Association chief executive Eric Pyle says those costs are sufficient to make energy companies think twice about building a wind farm in the South Island.

Mr Pyle says the Electricity Authority sets the price for using the cable and it is reviewing that.

However, the outcome of the review may not be known for about a year.