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Nova Energy celebrates consent for New Zealand’s largest solar project


Following a lengthy appeal process, Nova Energy is pleased to confirm that all consents required to develop its 400 MW solar farm are now in hand. 

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Nova Energy celebrates consent for New Zealand’s largest solar project

Nova Energy celebrates consent for New Zealand’s largest solar project

Following a lengthy appeal process, Nova Energy is pleased to confirm that all consents required to develop its 400 MW solar farm are now in hand. This landmark project, New Zealand’s largest consented solar farm, has been named ‘Te Rahui’ and Nova Energy is set to commence enabling works in the second half of this year.

Te Rahui, named by mana whenua in honour of a treasured ancestor and chief, embodies the traditional Māori practice of rāhui, which focuses on the preservation, protection and reservation of nature’s bounty. In line with this spirit, Nova Energy has initiated an integrated environmental and social programme that includes significant restoration of the Otamatea Awa environment and meaningful engagement with mana whenua.

Nova Energy CEO Babu Bahirathan expressed his enthusiasm for the project’s progress and its alignment with cultural values. “The naming of the solar project as Te Rahui reflects our deep respect for the land and the people of this region. It is a symbol of our commitment to sustainable development and our responsibility towards future generations. This project is not just about generating renewable energy; it’s about creating a legacy that honours our shared heritage and protects our environment,” says Mr Bahirathan.

Te Rahui is proposed to be built in two stages and once fully developed will have the capacity to power up to approximately 100,000 homes, marking a signficant step towards New Zealand’s emission reduction targets and New Zealand’s more renewable future.

While awaiting the Environment Court decision on the consent appeal, Nova Energy was able to advance several workstreams including selecting contractors, undertaking site investigation work and working through grid connection efficiencies.

“The location of the site is advantageous, being on a 220kV grid connection with land and grid capacity to, in time, host a large grid-scale battery system, which will improve grid security,” says Mr Bahirathan.

Nova Energy has already commenced the protection and enhancement of biodiversity at Te Rahui, with a focus on restoring wetlands and tributaries. In 2023, a 7.4 hectare area was fenced, and 40,000 native plants were planted by local tangata whenua businesses, with species selected in consultation with local tangata whenua, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, and the Department of Conservation.

As the solar plant is built, dairy operations will be phased out, and sheep will be introduced to the site to maintain the land post-construction, ensuring a harmonious balance between renewable energy production and agricultural practices.

Nova Energy is currently using its 2.1 MW solar power plant, which was New Zealand’s largest solar plant for some time, to provide critical information for dual land use options as part of a study conducted by Massey University. Nova Energy will use the learnings from that study to inform farming methods at the Te Rahui site. 

Kapuni Solar wins big at the Taranaki Regional Council Environmental Awards


Nova Energy’s Kapuni solar power plant has been recognised in the Taranaki Regional Council Environmental awards, taking out the top prize for Environmental Leadership in Climate Action. The awards recognise outstanding initiatives that are making a meaningful difference to protecting and enhancing the environment in Taranaki.

David Collins, GM Operations & Development, said “It’s great recognition for the Kapuni solar plant, which was New Zealand’s largest solar plant for some time. While it recently lost that title, it’s gained a new one with this award.”

Judges noted that Nova Energy “has shown significant commitment and investment in climate change mitigation which demonstrates dedication to protecting our environment for future generations. This project is a first of its kind in the region and demonstrates the feasibility and performance of solar on a commercial scale”.

In addition to demonstrating the feasibility and performance of solar power in the Taranaki climate for future projects, the project had strong partnerships with local hapu and also undertook agrivoltaics studies with Massey University, providing critical information for dual land use options.

Nova Energy launches EV Charging service


Nova has launched a new Electric Vehicle ‘EV’ charging service which will make it easier for Kiwi’s to purchase, install and manage all their home and business EV charging requirements.

Nova’s General Manager Retail, Michael O’Donnell says that with the switch to EVs gaining pace and Kiwis increasingly looking for at home or at work charging solutions, Nova wants to help smooth the transition to a renewable energy future.

“EVs are vital to New Zealand’s energy transition, and we want to make the change as easy as possible with our new end-to-end EV charging service that includes EV charging expertise, solutions and support to electric vehicle owners,” said O’Donnell.

Nova’s new service includes recommending the right smart EV charger to suit a customer’s individual needs, overseeing installation, and the option to pay for the charger upfront or on a 12 or 24-month term on a Nova account.

Nova supplies EV chargers from Wallbox, one of the world’s leading EV charger manufacturers and energy management companies.

“We’ve chosen Wallbox EV smart chargers as their charger range is well suited to the requirements of most homes and businesses, as well as the country’s rapidly growing EV vehicle fleet,” said O’Donnell.

Customers can control their EV Charging through an easy-to-use app - the Nova Charge Hub. Business customers also have the option of a desktop portal version of the Nova Charge Hub. 

This Nova Charge Hub Business Portal is ideal for businesses with more than one EV charger on their site or sites around the country, and for businesses who want to make their chargers accessible for their customers, or the public.  It allows customers to turn their chargers on and off, decide who can use them, monitor usage, and set the cost for each charging session.

The Business Portal also has features to support vehicle fleet owners to manage all their EV charging, including connecting home chargers of employees to allow for company paid EV charging at home. 

Nova Energy launches Mobile services


Nova has announced the launch of mobile services, a key milestone in the strategy to extend its offering, which now includes electricity, natural gas, broadband and mobile.

Nova’s Retail General Manager Michael O’Donnell said, “like energy, connectivity is important to Kiwi’s. By adding mobile to our portfolio of household and business services we’re continuing our promise to deliver great value and make things easy for our customers.”

Nova’s new mobile service offering includes three Endless mobile plans specifically designed for Kiwi families and businesses.

The residential plan offers families (or groups of up to five) Endless mobile for just $29/month per SIM when bundled with another eligible Nova service. It offers endless data, including 4GB at max speed, plus endless calls and texts to standard landlines and mobiles in New Zealand and Australia.

“At just $29/month per SIM, and with the convenience of not needing to worry about tracking usage or top-ups, our new Endless mobile plan will be especially appealing for families and offers great value for those who want to move away from prepay plans.

“Uniquely, Nova’s Endless plan allows customers to double their max speed data allowance for their entire group for just $10 per month. We think it’s a real game changer – making Endless mobile a more affordable and convenient option for all Kiwi families and businesses,” says Mr O’Donnell.

Nova’s business mobile plans offer similar affordability, ideal for small businesses with up to five staff, and a separate plan for larger businesses needing between 6 and 100 SIMs.

Nova’s mobile service uses the 2degrees mobile network.

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