ERIDIAN ENERGY New Zealandâ€™s top generator working to create a better energy future
eridian Energy is not just a leading developer of renewable electricity, it is the leading generator of energy in New Zealand. Official figures from 2014 reported that Meridian generated just over 33 percent of the country’s energy, making it the highest among five organisations that do so. Meridian’s reach in both New Zealand and Australia includes multiple channels, from businesses, farms, residential customers and online through electricity retailer Powershop. With head offices in both countries, the company 800 full-timeequivalent employees and has headquarters in New Zealand and offices in Australia. Meridian, which is 51 percent owned by the New Zealand, has an unrivalled commitment to renewable energy and is working hard to achieve the government’s target that 90% of energy is renewable by 2025.
HYDRO STATIONS Sustainability is key to Meridian’s operations. It knows the importance of including community, customer and environmental interests in business planning and works within a sustainability framework that focuses on areas where core business activities impact the external world.
Meridian generates energy from renewable energy sources. Most of its electricity is made from falling water collected in hydro stations, which generate enough electricity to power around 1.4 million homes each year. It also owns the hydro asset Manapōuri which is located in a world heritage site. Meridian is sensitive to the issues surrounding water use and works closely with iwi and a range of stakeholders to balance the different economic, social, cultural and environmental implications in each of the areas it works in. The process starts with water falling through a pipe called a ‘penstock’ which is used to spin a turbine. The spokes on these turbines act as blades, and when water hits them they make the turbine spin.The spinning turbine works the generator, which generates the electricity.
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As Meridian says, “It’s not possible to store large amounts of electricity. But it is possible to store water in dams.” This sums up the organisation’s philosophy towards energy. It carries a long-term focus on sustainability and working to create a better energy future for everyone. WIND FARMS Meridian is fortunate that New Zealand has a climate that helps make it one of the most consistent wind energy resources in the world. Its 10 wind farms in Australia and New Zealand are significantly more productive than international averages, enough to power around 152,000 homes each year.
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Like a hydro station, the energy in the wind spins the turbine blades. They in turn spin a shaft connected to a generator and this makes electricity, with the amount of electricity made depending on wind strength, by a wind turbine generator depends on how hard the wind is blowing. Meridian also operates the Ross Island Wind Farm (RIWF) in Crater Hill, Ross Island, Antarctica. The 0.99MW wind farm is the southern most wind farm in the world and supplies power to and links the electrical grids of both New Zealand’s Scott Base and the US’ McMurdo Station. The project, which was funded by the New Zealand Government, was designed to offset power generation dieselfuel consumption at the two research stations on the island.
Founded in 1948, TLJ Switchgear Limited (as it became known in 1992), is a name synonymous with the highly competitive power and distribution industry in New Zealand. Over the decades, strong customer relationships, based on a continuing commitment to exacting standards in the field of electrical design, programming and manufacture have seen the company gain ‘preferred supplier’ status from clients in the infrastructure, health, industrial and commercial sectors nationwide. With an ability to assess, fulfill and exceed the needs of each customer from concept, through design, manufacture and installation, TLJ Switchgear Limited have ensured their place at the forefront of the industry. Membership of Quality Assurance programmes such as ISO9001, ECANZ and Master Electricians ensure uncompromising standards are upheld and continually improved – the overall goal being a commitment to customer satisfaction and retention. Innovative and progressive electrical engineering and design expertise on tight deadlines – TLJ Switchgear Limited provides performance when it counts.
The three turbines are predicted to save 11% of the fuel used annually to provide electricity on Ross Island. It was built under an alliance between Antarctica New Zealand (AntNZ) and Meridian with support from the US National Science Foundation (NSF). SUSTAINABILITY IN THE WORKPLACE Sustainability doesn’t just apply to energy sources. The word is ingrained in Meridian’s ways of working, in community programmes, waste management and supply chain and procurement. Its Wellington Office, 33 Customhouse Quay, is New Zealand’s first purpose-built 5 Green Star rated office. The award-winning design means it uses 60% less energy and 70% less water than comparable office buildings.
Using a solar hot water system which generates 80% of the building’s needs, there is also an integrated building management system to control windows, shutters, blinds, lighting, heating and cooling. The building’s toilets are flushed by rainwater. Each detail was considered, with Meridian entrusted Fletcher Construction with the project, a company which reduced waste to landfill by 60%. The cement, carpet and glass include a high proportion of recycled content and all timber is sourced from sustainable plantations. Meridian has voluntarily calculated the company’s ‘carbon footprint’ since 2001, audited by Deloitte. In addition, it is undergoing a five-year emission reduction plan which has an overall target to reduce corporate GHG emissions per fulltime staff member by 10%.
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THE FUTURE OF NEW ZEALAND’S ENERGY SUPPLY New Zealand has gone from using 65% to 80% renewable energy in the past decade alone. The country is now in the top four countries in the OECD, thanks in part to Meridian’s $2 billion investment in building wind farms in NZ, Australia and Antarctica. Meridian’s commitment towards meeting the government’s 90 percent target remains as strong as ever.
Oliver Moy Publisher For enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org