The process of granting resource consent for the Turitea Wind Farm to go ahead will involve another round of submissions, but not a formal hearing.
Developer Mighty River Power wants to put an extra 12 turbines in the areas that the board of inquiry that heard the application said were suitable in its draft decision, released in February.
Its original application was “called in” as a matter of national importance to be heard by a board rather than by the Palmerston North City Council.
The board’s draft decision would, in effect, cut a path right through the middle of the proposed wind farm, in order to protect the view of the skyline from Palmerston North.
The draft decision would allow 60 turbines, many fewer than the 104 applied for, and Mighty River Power said in its response that the board should consider allowing the extra dozen to make the wind farm viable.
It said the board had made an uninformed and unsupported assumption that the wind farm would still be economically sustainable with just 60 turbines.
It challenged the board to resume the hearing that was never closed, only adjourned.
The power company said the board would be breaching the principles of natural justice and fairness if it did not allow another round of comment.
There were 36 submitters who did not have a chance to comment on Mighty River Power’s revised plan before submissions on the draft decision closed late last month. The board agreed in a memo this week that it would consider the fresh proposal, and that other interested parties should have a chance to comment.
Those people now have several days to make submissions, which close on June 20.
The board heard 10 weeks of evidence over nine months ending in March last year.
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