Contact Energy could face opposition to its proposed route for power pylons connecting the country’s largest wind farm to the national grid.
The company wants to put up to 218 wind turbines along a 40km stretch of coast between Raglan and Port Waikato. The 650-megawatt station will produce enough power for 250,000 homes.
The plan has received support from farmers and local iwi, but the path of the pylons is more contentious.
Franklin District councillor, Lionel Petterson, says the community is concerned about the environmental impact of another row of pylons in the area.
But Contact Energy’s chief executive, David Baldwin, says much of the pylon route will be in gullies, which will minimise the visual impact.
Mr Baldwin says the company will also build a gas-fired peaking plant near Stratford to generate power during periods of low wind. It plans to spend $2 billion in the next five years on wind and geothermal projects.
The Wind Energy Association says Contact’s plan will help ensure that Auckland does not run out of power.
Chief executive Fraser Clark says the move towards renewable power in the Waikato and Auckland areas will diversify the sources of available electricity, and the Government should reduce the consent barriers for the project.
The Government aims to lift the country’s target of electricity generated from renewable energy from its current level of 70% to 90% by 2025.
Contact says it wants the Government to speed up the process for getting resource consents for renewable projects to make sure that target is met.
17 October 2007
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