If a wind farm is to be built at Turitea, it is unlikely to happen quickly.
Nowhere among the careful comments coming out of Mighty River Power is there anything to suggest the power company plans to construct the farm any time soon.
There are, however, hints that the state-owned enterprise is hopeful of an improvement in market conditions – and this may well tell its own story.
Mighty River Power has said it plans to advance the project, but, fortunately for the firm, the question of the farm’s viability does not yet need to be answered.
It has a window of 10 years for making the project happen.
But what was once a 131-turbine proposal has been slowly sliced to 61 turbines.
So, while its press release was headlined “Mighty River Power welcomes board of inquiry decision”, it’s difficult to imagine the power company popping the champagne.
It has to accept the decision. There is no appeal.
And it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the company’s critics have been proved right.
Right from the start, the project has been slated as far too ambitious, “in your face” and lacking in consideration for the host environment.
At one stage, even project partner Palmerston North City Council seemed to suggest the placement of some turbines was cynical.
In the end, not even a reworking of the layout could cover the project’s flaws.
To be fair, the city council’s position has been difficult to fathom.
It has spent more than $850,000 arguing against a project it initiated and would profit from.
Officially, the council has taken a neutral stance, but nobody who observed the inquiry hearing could realistically quibble with anyone characterising the council as an opponent.
It seems to have got what it wanted – a wind farm of the scale it naively imagined in the first place.
But will the wind farm actually be built?
Only Mighty River knows.
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