Contact Awaits Power Demand Recovery Before N.Z. Windfarm Build

Contact Energy Ltd. (CEN), New Zealand’s biggest publicly traded power company, said it is waiting for electricity demand to recover before committing to build a new wind farm.

The company is in talks with landowners and potential turbine suppliers, and also monitoring wind patterns at the Hauauru ma Raki site near Raglan on the nation’s North Island, spokeswoman Janet Carson said in a telephone interview from Wellington. She denied a report yesterday by Rechargenews.com that work had halted.

“Work absolutely has not stopped,” she said. “We are continuing to progress it to get it ready for construction when the economic environment is right.”

Contact got consent to build the 504-megawatt capacity generator in May last year, and has yet to make an investment decision to proceed with the 168-turbine project because electricity demand is slowing. The project isn’t economic until demand improves, Carson said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at twithers@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Bourke at cbourke4@bloomberg.net

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