Makara Guardians Incorporated president Jenny Jorgensen believes alarm bells should have been rung after looking back at Meridian’s claims about its proposed wind farm at Makara.
Prior to the Environmental Court consent Meridian noted the project required 70 turbines, Terawhiti Hill provided 13 suitable sites was not developed as part of Meridian’s ‘self-imposed’ mitigation, the project would be carefully designed to avoid unacceptable adverse effects on residents and the coastal environment and the CEO of Meridian Energy said at 100 metres away, sound of the turbines were soundless.
However, Ms Jorgensen says, the facts now is the project at only 140 MW is down from 210 MW and only 62 turbines is still proceeding.
Meridian elected to remove four turbines closest to Terawhiti Hill which is due to excessive wind turbulence, Terawhiti Hill could not therefore have been developed either, so there was no mitigation for 13 turbines as claimed. Furthermore, Ms Jorgensen says, Meridian claims at its Lammermoor wind farm hearing that that site is ‘second to none in New Zealand’ and its significant adverse visual effects will result for Makara residents and Wellington’s nationally important outstanding natural coastal environment.
That said adverse noise effects and noise annoyance and irritation is set to affect residents of Makara after a similar incident, with similar circumstances to that of Makara’s, forced a resident to leave his home.
“One 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,” Ms Jorgensen said. “And for this very good reason, we feel that we cannot trust Meridian Energy unfortunately they have not shown themselves to be trustworthy,” she said.
Mr Jorgensen says the guardians 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,” she said. In fact the Guardians are still following up with the Environment Court and the High Court on the Conditions.
Meridian Energy has announced that it is starting construction however they cannot start construction until it receives an approved noise emission report from Wellington City Council, which has not been done.
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