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Group to consider appeal against wind farm

Opponents of a planned Otago wind farm will decide today whether to appeal against the decision allowing it to go ahead.

A joint hearing committee of the Clutha District Council and the Otago Regional Council has granted a series of resource consents to TrustPower for the project, which will involve 100 145m-high turbines on land north of Lake Mahinerangi, 50km west of Dunedin, at a cost of more than $400 million.

The wind farm’s capacity will be 200MW – enough power to supply about 100,000 homes.

Upland Landscape Protection Society committee member David Karena-Holmes said the 300-member group would meet in Dunedin today to discuss an Environment Court appeal against the decision.

He said the group was not opposed to the judicious use of wind power, but members believed the proposed farms at Mahinerangi and on the nearby Lammermoor Range, the site of Meridian Energy’s planned $2 billion wind farm, were too big.

“Although some of the area has been modified (for farming), I don’t see that is a reason to destroy it any more,” he said.

Karena-Holmes, who lives in Dunedin, said a further concern over TrustPower’s proposed wind farm was proximity to Te Papanui Conservation Area.

Lee Stream farmer Peter Doherty, said he was disappointed but not surprised by the decision. Although an appeal would be expensive, he was “90 per cent sure” of appealing, depending on the support of other opponents.

Yesterday, TrustPower welcomed the consent decision.

Chief executive Keith Tempest said the company would wait until the appeal period was over before reviewing the business case for the project.

By DAVID WILLIAMS DUNEDIN – The Press

stuff.co.nz

2 October 2007