Trustpower expects a decision to be made on its resource consent application for a $500 million wind farm near Mataura by the middle of next year, although construction is not expected to begin on the site until 2009.
TrustPower project manager Jim Pearson, at an information evening at the Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill last night, said that TrustPower planned to lodge a resource consent application with the Gore District Council and Environment Southland on October 19. A hearing was expected early in 2008.
A decision would probably not be made until mid-2008; the company would then look to order turbines for the project.
The construction period for the project is expected to take two to three years but there were plenty of unknowns as to the cost of capital and the New Zealand dollar, he said.
TrustPower has previously said rising costs were an issue when equipment had to be imported and the exchange rate factored into overall costs.
There were also rising fuel and steel costs, as well as the price of turbines, which had risen 20 percent as demand exceeded supply.
Currently, there were two wind monitoring masts on the site, with a third expected to go up shortly.
The site would cater for up to 83 turbines, across an area of 2568ha and with a maximum installed capacity of 240MW.
Many of the components for the farm would be transported from Bluff, through Mataura, although other options were being looked at through Wyndham and Gore.
By Susie Nordqvist
The Southland Times
19 September 2007
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