Jenny Jorgensen, President of Makara Guardians Incorporated said that looking back at Meridian’s claims about its proposed wind farm at Makara, should raise alarm bells.
What Meridian said at the start:
* The project was indivisible, it required 70 turbines;
* The site had low wind turbulence;
* Terawhiti Hill which provided 13 suitable sites was not developed as part of Meridian’s ‘self-imposed’ mitigation;
* The site was “the best internationally”;
* “The project had been carefully designed to avoid unacceptable adverse effects on residents and the coastal environment”. (a quote from Meridian’s pamphlet seeking support); and
* 40,000 pre-ticked (in support), postage pre-paid, submission forms were distributed by Meridian to garner support for its Makara proposal. The form stated: “Ideas to help with your submissions….The turbines will not be noisy for residents in Makara”.
* The CEO of Meridian Energy says : “when you are 100 metres away, you can’t hear them.”
The facts now:
* The project at only 140 MW (down from 210 MW) and only 62 turbines is still proceeding;
* Meridian elected to remove 4 turbines closest to Terawhiti Hill, due to excessive wind turbulence;
* Terawhiti Hill could not therefore have been developed either, so there was no mitigation for 13 turbines as claimed;
* Meridian claims at its Lammermoor wind farm hearing that that site is “second to none in New Zealand”;
* Significant adverse visual effects will result for Makara residents and Wellington’s nationally important outstanding natural coastal environment; (found by the Environment Court);
* Significant adverse noise effects and noise annoyance and irritation will result for the residents of Makara (found by the Environment Court); and
* A farmer at Meridian’s Te Apiti wind farm has been forced to leave his homestead (some 350 metres from turbines) due to noise and vibration from the turbines.
* The new T3 wind turbines are causing sleep deprivation for residents 2.2km away.
For very good reason, we feel that we cannot trust Meridian Energy;
unfortunately they have not shown themselves to be trustworthy. We are very concerned that Meridian Energy be made to comply with conditions that the Court’s decision requires; these conditions are likely to require a considerable number of turbines being de-rated and turned off at times. The Court warned Meridian of this. We question how a wind farm where turbines must be de-rated or turned off to protect residents can be “the best internationally”.
Makara Guardians is still following up with the Environment Court and the High Court on the Conditions.
Meridian Energy has announced that it is starting construction:
However, Meridian Energy cannot start construction until it receives an approved noise emission report from Wellington City Council, but this has not been done. In addition, Meridian has to undertake background sound level testing and wind measurements at a large number of our homes at Makara. Until Meridian has carried out this work , Jenny Jorgensen says that it would be impossible to assess the economics of the project. Background sound level and wind testing alone will require some 12 months of data collection, and no such testing as yet been started.
Makara Guardians Inc questions whether this project can, in reality, be viable.
The Society also questions whether Meridian has so misled the general public, and probably many others, that it should not in all conscience proceed.
Press Release: Makara Guardians
10 September 2007
Makara Guardians: makaraguardians.orcon.net.nz
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