The country’s Environmental Protection Authority has approved Harmony’s proposal for the 147 megawatt solar farm to be installed on 182 hectares of a 260-hectare site at Te Aroha West, 140km south of Auckland.
Harmony Energy Director, Pete Grogan, who is based in New Zealand, said: “We are thrilled this important renewable development can now proceed. Renewable energy is critical to mitigate the negative impact of climate change and help support New Zealand’s net zero ambition.
“One of the great advantages of solar power is that it accommodates dual use of land, allowing for energy generation alongside continued farming production, as will happen at Tauhei.
“This proposal creates opportunities for local businesses and employment and creates significant biodiversity gains. We will deliver an exceptional project that Waikato can be proud of.
“Upon granting approval, it was noted that we were to be commended for the care taken in conceptualising the proposal in the manner that we have – creating a project that will deliver such significant benefits with comparatively few adverse effects.
“This reflects the fact the design of the solar farm includes the ecological restoration of a large wetland area, incorporating boardwalks for scheduled educational visits. It also includes extensive riparian planting and a network of indigenous species planted as biodiversity corridors for migration of fauna species through the site.”
Mr Grogan, who is a New Zealander, co-founded Harmony Energy, and returned to the country to establish the company’s New Zealand operation.
In addition to Tauhei, Harmony Energy has a pipeline of over 500 megawatt of projects planned for New Zealand.
In the UK, the company is in the final stages of developing a major battery energy storage facility at Pillswood, near Cottingham, in East Yorkshire. When finished later this year, the new facility will have the capacity to store up to 198 megawatt hours of power to feed directly back into the network, making it the largest battery energy storage facility in the UK.