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Wind farm planned for Moawhango

Meridian Energy is seeking permission to build a 52-turbine wind farm near Moawhango in the central North Island.

The project, dubbed Central Wind, will be sited on five private properties on land governed by the Rangitikei and Ruapehu district councils.

The farm would have a combined generating capacity of 120-130 megawatts – enough to power up to 50,000 average homes. Construction is likely to take 18-24 months.

Meridian lodged a 171-page resource consent application with the two district councils, and Horizons regional council, last Friday.

Rangitikei mayor Chalky Leary said the district council’s hearing panel would consider the application.

Ruapehu had employed an independent contractor to assess the application and report on the council’s behalf.

The proposed site, used for pastoral farming, lies three kilometres northwest of Moawhango, 12 kilometres north of Taihape and 10 kilometres south of Waiouru.

The turbines will be most clearly seen from sections of the Napier-Taihape Rd and will also be visible from parts of nearby towns, according to Meridian’s report.

Only a scattering of farm occupants and workers would have close-range views of the turbines, but some properties in north-western Taihape will have a clear line of sight to the farm, as will segments of SH1 south of Waiouru. The wind farm will also be visible in parts of Moawhango, but this will be limited by nearby ridges.

The predicted sound pressure levels at the 36 closest properties are predicted to fall well within the limit of 40dBA, which is softer than conversational speech.

Meridian’s proposal estimates the development of Central Wind would provide employment for up to 150 people during the construction phase.

Materials and construction equipment would be sourced locally.

Meridian is New Zealand’s largest electricity generator, and operates the Te Apiti wind farm in the Manawatu and the White Hill wind farm in Southland.

02.07.2008

By SIMON WOOD

wanganuichronicle.co.nz