A wind farm company investigating a small-scale development on one of South Otago’s higher points is pleased with initial testing and is confident it will eventually lodge a resource consent application for the project.
NZ Windfarms Ltd has placed a 30m high monitoring mast on a Mt Stuart farm 16km northwest of Milton, as it gathers more data to support its plans for a 10-turbine wind farm.
The company’s chief executive this week suggested the early results were more than promising.
Chief executive Chris Freear said the initial testing, before the mast went up, and subsequent analysis, was “promising”.
The company was “reasonably confident” the site had the resources needed for a wind farm.
The company had signed a lease agreement with the landowner but Mr Freear declined to comment on details.
It was now consulting locals, answering questions, addressing concerns and trying to gather written support, as it prepares to lodge a formal application.
“We like to talk about the proposal from the very start, to make sure people are informed and know where we are coming from.”
It is understood some neighbours directly affected by the proposed development still have serious concerns, but Mr Freear said discussions with people were all part of the extensive process companies had to undertake under the Resource Management Act.
“We like to do that [consultation] in a very informal way to begin with, and let people know our thoughts and expectations.”
But this took time, which was why he would not commit to a timeframe for the project.
He also denied growing fears from some in the area the company would apply for a much larger wind farm when it lodged its application.
“Our expectation is this will be a very small scale wind farm . . . there are constraints with the land available.
“This [a proposal for 10 turbines] is not the thin end of a much bigger wedge.”
• NZ Windfarms is a Christchurch wind-turbine electricity generation firm, formed in 2004.
• Activities include identifying economically feasible wind farm sites, developing them and selling the electricity generated.
• Last year, NZ Windfarms bought a 16% stake in WindPower Maungatua Ltd, which
holds development rights for a wind farm site in Otago, with potential
for 20MW of generation.
• Board of directors includes former Christchurch mayor Vicki Buck.
By Glenn Conway
3 July 2008
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