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Appeal considered against wind farm

Local residents opposed to a massive wind farm on Wellington’s south coast say they may appeal the Environment Court decision allowing the construction to go ahead.

The court has given the go-ahead for 66 turbines to be built at Makara, cutting the number of turbines approved in resource consent by four in its 152 page verdict.

Meridian Energy says the $500 million wind farm will generate enough power for most of the Wellington region.

The wind farm is proposed to generate 210MW of electricity on 990ha of land known as Makara Farm or Quartz Hill and the 4610ha Terawhiti Station.

Meridian Energy chief executive Keith Turner said yesterday he welcomed the ruling but reducing the number of turbines would have an impact on the economics of the project.

Residents say the turbines, which will be 111m tall, are being built too close to houses and they are considering appealing the decision.

Resident Ruth Paul said the nearest turbine to her home would be about 1km from the front door and she would be able to see three turbines.

Two other houses would be as close as 700m to turbines and many would be within 2km.

“I think there are probably going to be a lot of people in Makara who aren’t happy,” she said.

She also believed noise would be a problem.

“We’re directly downwind of the whole farm,” she said.

“People in Ashhurst (near the Tararua and Te Apiti windfarms in Manawatu) have the problem at 3km – it’s one of those things that’s hard to measure.”

The court found while noise could create some annoyance to Makara residents, “it will not be severe or disturb sleep”.

It said the noise level was not to exceed 30dBA at any house on a calm day when there was enough wind for the turbines to work.

Other parties, including Greenpeace, the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority, and the New Zealand Wind Energy Association supported the proposal.

– NZPA

nzherald.co.nz

16 May 2007