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Meridian gets go ahead for Otago wind farm  

Commissioners appointed by Central Otago District Council have decided in a majority decision to grant consent to Meridian Energy for a 176-turbine wind farm on the Lammermoor Range.

Conditions included a requirement for the consent holder to submit detailed environmental and traffic management plans for approval before starting construction, the district council said today.

Opponents of the proposal include All Black hooker Anton Oliver, who presented a 75-minute, 21-page submission against the proposal at consent hearings, and poet laureate Brian Turner.

Resource consent applications were made to the district council and the Otago Regional Council in mid to late 2006. Six weeks of public hearings were held from the end of April this year.

A statement from Meridian said chief executive Keith Turner was worried about how progress on the so-called Project Hayes would be affected by management issues surrounding the electricity link between the North and South Islands.

The charging regime for the HVDC (high voltage direct current) link disadvantaged new South Island generation projects, he said.

It made such projects more expensive at a time when South Island security of supply was under generation pressure.

“We are also told that if the link is upgraded, South Island generators will have the cost imposed on them even when the upgrade is needed to bring power south,” Dr Turner said.

“(Project Hayes) has the potential to be a world class wind farm. It also has the potential to address the sudden security of supply problem facing the South Island, which was created when Transpower unexpectedly closed down one half of the Cook Strait transmission link recently.”

The wind farm would be developed on an area of around 92sq km about 70km northwest of Dunedin. It would generate up to 630 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply up to 263,000 homes.



31 October 2007

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