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Windpower Maungatua seeks input

The installation of a 50m-high meteorological mast at the proposed $40 million 40-turbine wind farm on the western slopes of Mt Maungatua near Dunedin International Airport is scheduled to begin this week and resource consent applications could be under way by June.

Windpower Maungatua is seeking public input into the wind farm development, hopeful it will be ready to apply for resource consent by June, Windpower director and project manager Dave Tucker said yesterday when contacted.

‘‘We will commission a number of experts to consider a variety of matters including landscape, visual, ecological, traffic and noise effects. It is more important to discuss the proposal with the people who live and work in the community,’’ Mr Tucker said in a letter sent during the weekend to about 50 interested parties.

The recipients included local landowners within 5km of the site, the Dunedin City Council, Otago Regional Council, the Civil Aviation Authority, Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society and Upland Protection Society, he said.

Information days would be held before the resource consent applications were lodged and Windpower Maungatua would have a display of its proposal at the NZ International Science Festival in Dunedin in early July.

The wind farm will be on the northwest slopes of Mt Maungatua directly south of Horsehoof Station on land owned and farmed by Jeff Roberts.

Mr Tucker said two years of anemometer studies indicated the site had suitable wind speeds and feasibility studies had confirmed the viability of a 20MW wind farm.

Depending on weather this week, the 50m mast could be erected over three days and would have three anemometers attached. The mast, held by guide wires, will be ‘‘almost invisible’’ at 165mm round and is expected to stay in place for up to six months, he said.

Last week, NZ Windfarms, which has been in a large North Island wind farm project, increased its original 16.7% stake in Windpower Maungatua to a majority 50% stake.

Because of the increased stake Windpower Maungatua now had the financial resources needed to complete site research and design and address all the matters required for a resource consent application, Mr Tucker said.

Windpower Maungatua intended to use New Zealanddesigned and built Windflow 500 turbines from Christchurch manufacturer Windflow Technology, which stand 30m high at the hub or 46m at the blades’ apex.

‘‘This locally manufactured turbine is significantly smaller than those proposed for other projects in the Otago area,’’ Mr Tucker said.

By Simon Hartley
Business Reporter

Otago Daily Times

7 April 2008