Wind data collected at testing sites near Gore suggest a wind farm in the area would be almost as productive as the Tararua wind farm, TrustPower spokesman Graeme Purches said yesterday.
Mr Purches confirmed there was a “high likelihood” of a wind farm being built in the Otaraia area, on Old Coach Rd, about 15km south-east of Gore, within the next few years.
Indications were it would be a windy winner.
The Otaraia site and the Mahinerangi sites, near Dunedin, were likely to be almost as productive as TrustPower’s Tararua wind farm, he said. It has been rated as one of the best wind generation sites in the world, achieving an average capacity of about 46 percent over five years of operation. The international average was 32 percent.
Apart from its windiness, the Gore site had the added attractions of being close to transmission lines, in remote locations and having the support of local landowners, he said.
TrustPower still has to go through wide public consultation before lodging resource consents for the wind farm with the Gore District Council but there was no doubting the huge capital investment the project would represent.
The exact size of the wind farm had yet to be established but TrustPower was unlikely to build one with a rated capacity of less than 100MW, Mr Purches said.
To achieve this minimum output would require the installation of at least 50 2MW wind turbines or 33 3MW turbines, he said.
A 2MW turbine costs about $4 million, installed. The 3MW turbines were about $6 million each.
The turbines were “seriously big” structures with a 100m high tower supporting a cell the size of a bus and blades 45m long, Mr Purches said. They would be visible from Old Coach Rd and there was potential for the top of the blades to be seen from Gore, albeit from a high location and using binoculars, he said.
If the project went ahead, resource consents should be lodged by the middle of the year.
By Sonia Gerken
The Southland Times
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