The recent announcement of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter being scheduled to close by August 2021 has caused a stir in the industry given they account for nearly 13% of New Zealand’s electricity consumption.
Most of the questions for us have centered around the viability of the Mt Cass Wind Farm project as a result of this news.
When news of the Tiwai review first hit the media last year, the Mt Cass Wind Farm project team took the time to update the financial modelling to ensure the project was viable based on a number of scenarios, one of these scenarios was the closure of the smelter. For us having more certainty around this decision and the expected closure date of August 2021, allows for more accurate forecasting of electricity prices over the life of the wind farm. We do recognise the closure creates greater uncertainty in electricity prices over the next two to three years.
The Mt Cass Wind Farm is one of New Zealand’s best consented wind farm sites and will be developed. We need to remember it is a long term investment and the conditions must be right to build, the timing of this project is incredibly important.
We are waiting to hear the outcome of the government’s shovel-ready projects. Finding out whether the Mt Cass Wind Farm is one of the projects to be supported is even more important to allow us to set the timing of the project build.
Mt Cass Wind Farm project updates will continue to be shared with you and we will release an official update to the public in August. We are hoping by this time we will have more news on whether the wind farm will be listed as one of the shovel-ready projects.