A boss of the proposed Motorimu Wind Farm on the Tararua Ranges has apologised to residents living in the area for “not being open enough” with them about the project.
Speaking on the final afternoon of a marathon 10-day resource consent hearing to build the 127-turbine wind farm, Bernhard Voll said he wanted to improve his “less than perfect” consultation with the local residents.
“This hearing has taught us we can improve it. We want to improve it, not just now, but also when we start construction of the wind farm,” said Mr Voll at the hearing, giving away his obvious confidence the project will get the go-ahead.
The technical director of Allco Wind Energy, which owns Motorimu Wind Farm Ltd, said he wanted to become a good neighbour to the nearby residents.
Allco yesterday replied to more than 200 submitters to the proposal. About 40 were for it and 165 against, with up to 90 speaking to their submissions during the hearing.
Allco’s legal counsel, Vernon Rive, told hearing commissioners he was surprised and disappointed Horowhenua District Council had opposed the wind farm in its submission.
The council’s concerns appeared to stem from a fundamental objection to wind farms, both within the region’s boundaries and in places which may be seen from the Horowhenua, he said.
“Such a position is inconsistent with the Government’s plans to increase renewable energy generation in New Zealand.”
If the wind farm gets the go-ahead to be built on the ranges behind Linton and Tokomaru, it will produce enough energy to power more than 42,000 homes, achieve savings of at least 260,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year and provide employment, business opportunities, permanent infrastructural upgrades and an improved security of electricity supply both locally and nationally, he said. The maximum height of each turbine would be 81m.
On the Palmerston North City Council’s view that 20 turbines may need to be removed due to noise issues, Mr Rive said there was no reasonable basis for that position as the noise requirements of the Resource Management Act would be complied with.
The hearing commissioners are expected to make a decision within 15 working days.
By Evan Harding
30 March 2007
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