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Phantom turbine mystery  

Credit:  Grant Miller, Manawatu Standard, www.stuff.co.nz 18 February 2011 ~~

Mystery surrounds the fate of an apparent phantom turbine at the proposed Turitea Wind Farm near Palmerston North.

A government board of inquiry released a draft decision last week, giving Mighty River Power consent for 61 turbines, but that may not be the end of the matter.

A possible problem was discovered when the Palmerston North City Council tried to map the location of all the proposed turbines and only 60 could be found.

Senior planner Jeff Baker said he had counted the consented turbines about seven times and the total always came to 60.

“We’ve been through every single location … I’m 95 per cent confident there’s a missing turbine.”

Mighty River Power had already seen its controversial proposal scaled back several times after it announced in July 2008 that it wanted to build a farm with 131 turbines at the Turitea Reserve and on adjacent private land.

The board accepted only 61 proposed turbines because it deemed others to be too dominant on the skyline and intrusive on native vegetation. Each turbine was capable of producing up to 3MW of electricity.

Both the power company and the board of inquiry are keeping mum on the missing turbine.

So, in an effort to get to the bottom of the mystery, the Manawatu Standard took a closer look at the plans.

Nestled among dozens of proposed turbines is a grouping of 19 consented turbines in an area known as series D, or the South Range Rd primary row. However, the board of inquiry identified there should be 20 turbines in series D, leaving space for Mighty River Power’s missing 61st turbine.

The issue was expected to be cleared up when the board releases its final decision next month.

Source:  Grant Miller, Manawatu Standard, www.stuff.co.nz 18 February 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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