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Wind farm would ruin area – residents  

Credit:  By CATE BROUGHTON, Northern Outlook, 1 June 2011 ~~

A majority of submissions on Meridian Energy’s Hurunui Wind project oppose the proposal saying noise levels and impacts on the landscape and property values would make it intolerable for local residents.

The feedback period for consent applications for 33 wind turbines on land between Omihi and Greta Valley finished last Thursday.

There were 128 submissions to the Hurunui District Council: 74 in opposition, 49 in support and 5 taking a neutral position.

Environment Canterbury received 62 submissions on Meridian Energy consent applications for Hurunui Wind, with 43 opposing and 19 supporting the proposal. Those opposing the project were mainly property owners in the immediate area of the project at Greta Valley, Waipara.

Meridian Energy’s application said the turbines would provide 75.9 megawatts (MW)of renewable energy – enough electricity to supply up to 31,000 average households.

Submissions opposing the proposal claimed unacceptable noise levels produced by the wind turbines would have a negative impact on the health of residents.

They also said the visual impact of 33 turbines on the picturesque landscape the would be a turn off for tourists and prospective property buyers.

The Copelands from Greta Valley spoke for many in their submission saying, “The proposal will totally change the area from an idyllic rural setting to an industrial nightmare.”

Other property owners, like David Meares, a third generation Greta Valley farmer said they had a spiritual connection to the land which should be respected.

Some submitters claimed special circumstances meant the proposal would hit them particularly hard.

Sarah and Samuel Barnes said their autistic son could be badly affected by the noise and visual impact of the turbines and similarly.

Annette Marr said she was concerned about the effect on her son, who has Aspergers syndrome.

Supporters of the project claimed the natural resource of wind should be embraced for the provision of renewable energy.

They said the project would help the Government reach their goal of 90 per cent of electricity generated by renewable energy by 2025.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority said currently 70pc came from renewable sources but the remainder came from fossilfuelled thermal generators (gas and coal).

Simon Batchelor said he supported the proposal because there was a great need for new renewable energy sources in New Zealand.

Mr Batchelor also dismissed the visual impact of the turbines saying they would be “no worse than centre pivot irrigators”.

Some supporters disputed claims by opponents about the detrimental effect of the low level noise the turbines would produce.

One submitter said the noise would be approximately the same as “boiling a kettle or the sound of waves at the seaside”.

No date for a public hearing for the application and submissions has been set.

Source:  By CATE BROUGHTON, Northern Outlook, 1 June 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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