TrustPower is seeking planning permission for a 240MW wind farm near Gore.
The Kaiwera Downs Wind Farm will be built entirely on privately owned farmland and will have a maximum of 83 turbines, each with a maximum height of 145m.
TrustPower, which lodged the application yesterday, says the proposed wind farm would be built in stages, with a projected total cost of $440 million, and at full capacity could supply the equivalent of 113,000 homes.
The final cost would be determined by prices for turbines, which are in high international demand, and the exchange rate.
The wind farm will require a transmission line of up to 4.1km to connect to existing Transpower 220kv transmission lines.
Community relations manager Graeme Purches said there had been opposition from neighbouring landowners worried about the impact of the wind farm on their land values.
The company was confident this would not be the case and TrustPower would idemnify them against any loss in value if that was what they wanted.
It was expected construction could generate more than $50 million income for the local community.
Early last month TrustPower was given the green light for a wind farm at Mahinerangi, 40km west of Dunedin, a 200MW project that could ultimately supply enough electricity for 100,000 homes.
A joint hearing committee of the Clutha District Council and Otago Regional Council – which is also hearing the Kaiwera Downs application – has granted a series of resource consents to TrustPower but attached 178 conditions.
The Mahinerangi project would cost about $400 million and owing to its location near the lake supplying TrustPower’s four-station Waipori hydro scheme, the wind farm would allow TrustPower to make best use of both the wind and hydro resources.
Last week State Owned Enterprise Meridian was granted approval for a 176-turbine Project Hayes wind farm in Central Otago worth around $1.5 billion.
TrustPower is also seeking resource consent for remodelling existing hydro schemes on the Arnold River, near Dobson, and Wairau Valley, in Marlborough.
At Arnold the existing dam would over time be replaced and generating capacity increased from 5MW to 42MW.
In Marlborough the Wairau River flow would be diverted into the existing branch scheme and the water conveyed through interconnecting canals and penstocks to five new power stations spaced down the Wairau Valley.
Purches said it was almost inevitable objections would lead to an Environment Court hearing.
He joined Meridian’s criticism of the way in which generators in the South Island were being charged to use the high voltage interisland line. The power could be used locally, given South Island demand, but TrustPower was being charged to send it north, he said.
Trustpower last week announced a 7 per cent rise in September half-year profit to $63.1 million.
Trustpower’s SI plans
* Kaiwera Downs near Gore: Windfarm, 240MW.
* Mahinerangi, west of Dunedin: Windfarm, 200MW.
* Arnold River, West Coast: remodelled hydro, 42MW.
* Wairau Valley, Marlborough: remodelled hydro, 73MW.
By Grant Bradley
7 November 2007
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