Financial constraints meant secondhand turbines would be sourced from Europe for Pioneer Generation’s proposed wind farm near Roxburgh.
But spending $30,000 to repaint them so they were better camouflaged could seriously jeopardise the project, the company told the Central Otago District Council hearings panel yesterday.
The Alexandra-based company, which is owned by the Central Lakes Trust, plans to establish a small $1.45 million wind farm next to its hydro electric power station 15km east of Roxburgh.
An application for three wind turbines to be erected next to the Horseshoe Bend power station attracted 13 submissions, with four opponents including the Department of Conservation, which had ecological issues.
The planner’s report to the council recommended consent be granted subject to 34 conditions, including painting the white wind towers grey to camouflage them better.
But Pioneer Generation asset development manager Neil Gillespie said repainting the machines would have “serious implications” on the economic viability of the the proposal because of the cost and the potential implications of their performance.
Company chief executive Peter Dowling told the hearing that Pioneer Generation had been investigating wind generation for several years but struggled to meet the financial hurdles because of the costs of using new turbines.
Secondhand turbines were in demand in Eastern Europe and still had considerable life left in them.
He said the company would be looking at sourcing turbines between eight and 10 years old. It would refurbish them and expected another 12 to 15 years of use.
Electricity from the turbines would be linked to the existing Horseshoe Bend power station, before being fed into the existing 33kV transmission line.
The company hopes to start construction of what it considered a “low-risk pilot project” in January, and have it fully commissioned by April.
Each wind turbine is expected to produce 600kW and will be about 72m high.
The hearings panel reserved its decision.
By Aimee Wilson
The Southland Times
26 September 2007
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