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Meridian to plough ahead with wind farm  

State-owned Meridian Energy today confirmed it would proceed with its Wellington wind farm and expects to begin enabling work within the next month.

Chief executive Keith Turner said Project West Wind at Makara would make a substantial contribution to renewable energy in the lower North Island.

Makara residents lost a two-year battle against the project in the Environment Court in June. The court reduced the size and number of turbines from 70 to 66, which Meridian said could threaten the project’s viability. Today’s announcement cut the number of 111m high turbines by another four.

Dr Turner said the wind farm was using a superb wind resource, “the envy of the electricity industry internationally”.

It is expected to generate 92 per cent of the time.

Meridian was working through final details before signing major contracts.

Dr Turner said the wind farm would be a 62-turbine development with four of the allowed sites deemed unsuitable.

Even at 62 turbines, the wind farm would generate from 140-150 megawatts, which would be more than enough to supply every household in Wellington city.

The wind farm will have a substation on Terawhiti Station where the on-farm 33kV network would be increased to 110kV before it connects to Transpower’s double-circuit 110kV line from Wilton to Central Park.

Construction would take two years and would begin with the external roading improvements on Makara Hill.


The New Zealand Herald

15 August 2007

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