A huge wind farm planned for Central Otago is getting a gusty response.
Meridian Energy wants to build 176 wind turbines on central Otago’s Lammermoor range.
“The South Island needs new generation capacity and this is a great use of a renewable, clean, natural resource,” say Meridian Energy spokesperson Alan Seay.
The $2 million government-backed project would be located on remote, privately-owned windswept land.
But while Meridian says it is ideal for wind generation, the community is divided.
Many believe the turbines, some as tall as a 45-storey building, will be a blight on the landscape.
“The massive destruction of the landscape and the visual amenity value is something that needs to be very well considered given that we market this country on its visual landscapes,” says opponent Ewen Carr.
The Department of Conservation also says it has environmental concerns, and if they are not met, the project should be dumped.
But not all locals are against the idea.
“We’ve got to get electricity from somewhere and it seems this is the most suitable at this point in time,” says one local.
The five land owners, who will benefit financially, are very much in favour.
“It’s just another way of farming for us and great revenue and power for New Zealanders,” says land owner John Elliot.
Over 700 resource consent submissions have been received and consent hearings for the project will begin next year.
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