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Tararua has 'best wind farm in the world'

Manawatu will get more wind farms, but the Environment Court should rule on where they go, says Energy and Climate Change Minister David Parker.

He was on hand to open the third and final stage of the Tararua wind farm yesterday.

Speaking after the official opening of the $185 million expansion of the wind farm, TrustPower chief executive officer Keith Tempest said the hills around Tararua had all the turbines they could handle, but would not rule them out elsewhere in Manawatu.

“It’s the best wind resource in the country here. We have not found a wind farm anywhere in the world that has the production power of (Tararua). It’s the best wind farm in the world.”

The oldest turbines on the ranges had already produced in seven years what was meant to be produced in 20, he said, and the latest turbines had already neutralised carbon emissions to set them spinning.

He said it was a matter of positioning the turbines “sensibly” so as to minimise the negative noise and visual impacts on neighbours.

Mr Tempest did not say where in the Manawatu the new wind farms would go.

Mr Parker said it was great to see another wind farm opening, and hoped to see them dotted throughout the country.

“There’s no perfect option, all energy production has some environmental effect.”

But it was hard to find something with fewer environmental problems than wind farms.

He said the decision on where wind farms were be put should be left to the Environment Court.

Stage three saw 31 more turbines added to the 103 there since 1999.

The 18-month construction period injected about $50 million into the local economy.

The latest windmills are five times the size of their elder siblings, and produce five times as much energy.

The last windmill started spinning in July. The extra turbines increased the number of homes the wind farm powers from 32,000 to 74,000.

By Katie Chapman

Manawatu Standard

stuff.co.nz

14 September 2007