A proposed wind farm site for the Kakanui range in North Otago has less wind strength than hoped, but enough for its backers to continue with investigations.
The company, Waitaki Wind, was formed in 2009 by former Meridian Energy boss Keith Turner and former Waitaki mayor Alan McLay to investigate the area’s potential for renewable energy production.
Over the past two years, data has been collected from two potential sites, at Dome Hills and Mt Stalker.
Dr Turner told The Timaru Herald on Friday the company had received enough data to investigate further.
“We’ve reached the stage where we’ve got enough data – enough that we’ve [decided] Dome Hills is not good enough.” However, he said the Mt Stalker site was “marginal, but still interesting”.
“But there’s more specialist measures that we need to do to see that that interest is justified.
“The wind strength is not as strong as we’d hoped, but still good enough for development.
“Because of the lower wind strength we need to look very hard at the economy.”
The next step was to get a virtual profile of the wind shear with continued monitoring, he said.
“I’ve prepared a report for the parties and we will discuss with them before deciding what the next step is.”
Dr Turner said in a previous article the growing list of multimillion-dollar projects on the drawing board for the area, including Meridian Energy’s $1 billion North Bank Tunnel hydro scheme, Holcim New Zealand’s $400 million cement plant at Weston, as well as several large-scale irrigation schemes, one of which could irrigate up to 40,000 hectares of South Canterbury farmland, could turn it into the envy of the country.