Now we’ve got your attention, yes, we are joking up to a point.
Wind turbines are NOT planned for Dunedin’s Octagon or the Otago Peninsula; not that we know of.
But the computer-enhanced photograph isn’t altogether a joke. Huge turbines exactly like this their height and size shown in correct context and scale could soon dominate the landscape in inland Otago.
Meridian Energy, through its Project Hayes, wants to put 176 such windmills, each 160m high, on the Lammermoor range behind Middlemarch; and TrustPower hopes to erect at least 100, slightly smaller, nearby on the Lammerlaw Range.
If both proposals go ahead, the two contiguous sites in inland Otago would contain the world’s largest wind farm.
Let’s deal with the Meridian Energy project first because it’s almost upon us. Formal resource consent applications for it have been lodged with the Central Otago District Council. They cover hundreds of detailed pages, plus 12 appendices.
The public have until next Friday, November 24, to make submissions for or against the proposal.
As a newspaper, we’re not saying this proposal, or Trust-Power’s, is good or bad.
What we are saying is that each will have a massive effect on Otago.
Here are some points regarding Meridian’s proposal, Project Hayes, to consider.
“¢ Each of the 176 turbine towers is the height of a44-storey building.
“¢ Each turbine tower requires 650cu m of concrete; that’s 105 to 110 separate concrete truck deliveries (19,000 deliveries and 115,000cu m in all).
“¢ Each turbine has three 60mlong blades.
“¢ Each turbine blade will require a truck and trailer at least 65m long for transportation.
“¢ Extensive road works to accommodate such trucks will be needed, including 150km of access roads, most 10m wide.
“¢ The project will generate enough electricity to meet the annual needs of up to 263,000 homes.
“¢ Constructions costs are estimated at $1.2 billion-$2 billion.
“¢ Construction will take five years.
“¢ Five electricity substations will be built. cludes many plans, drawings and photographs with turbine towers (but not roads or transmission lines) superimposed.
Meridian notes in its application that it refuses to provide answers to some requests by the Central Otago District Council. The requests include some specific and cumulative visual effects of the wind farm, the 220kV electricity transmission towers and lines and some sections of internal access roads.
“¢ Turbines will be connected to the substations mostly with underground cabling.
“¢ Up to 100 overhead transmissions lines will run between substations, each being 36m to 45m high.
“¢ A new 220kV national grid transmission line may be needed.
The above facts are taken from Meridian Energy’s resource consent application. The detailed documentation in-Meridian claims that, in some cases, the information is not relevant.
It also refuses to provide information to confirm the existing Transpower network has the capacity to accommodate the electricity generated by Project Hayes.
That is up to Transpower, it says, pointing out that while the total generation capacity of Project Hayes is assessed at up to 630MW the same as Benmore, “the actual capacity of the site could be more than that, depending on the turbine selection”.
Readers wanting to gain a feel for the magnitude of this project should turn to our graphic guide on page 32.
The digitally-altered photograph above was provided by Animation Research Ltd, of Dunedin, which has pledged its skills to show the visual effects of wind farms planned for Otago. The company, world famous for its computer graphics presentation of America’s Cup yachting and other major international sports events, guarantees the accuracy of its work, managing director Ian Taylor says.
By the Editor, Robin Charteris
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