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Energy firms move on wind farm plans  

Credit:  By Amie HIckland, Wairarapa Times-Age, www.times-age.co.nz 13 October 2011 ~~

Potential Wairarapa wind farms have met strong opposition from the public, but energy companies are determined to make use of the windy weather.

Genesis Energy recently lodged a resource consent to build a 30,000 hectare wind farm at Castle Hill in North Wairarapa and Meridian Energy is looking to construct 20 turbines just south of Eketahuna, after plans for a wind farm near Martinborough were put on hold.

Genesis Energy submitted its application – which could include up to 286 turbines – to Masterton District Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Tararua District Council and Horizons Regional Council on August 1.

Environmental regulations team leader Shaun Andrewartha said submissions closed on September 26 and the council group had received 101 submissions – of which 66 were opposed to the project.

Castle Hill Wind Farm Community Action Group co-ordinator David Nelson said the group had some concerns which they wanted Genesis Energy to avoid, mitigate or remedy.

He said the group represented about 80 members of the community, which could be affected by the what was potentially the biggest wind farm in the country, and they had lodged a submission outlining their concerns with the councils.

Meridian Energy also proposed to construct 45 turbines in hill country near Martinborough, some years ago.

External communications manager Claire Shaw said the company had been investigating a site called Windy Peak since 2005.

“These investigations are currently on hold while landscape review work is undertaken by GWRC and the district councils,” she said.

“We don’t have any information on dates for conclusion at this stage.”

The company is also proposing to build a 20 turbine wind farm at Mt Munro, 5km south of Eketahuna.

The company has been monitoring the wind resource at the site for three years and the data it has collected demonstrates the site to be exceptional for its wind speed and consistency.

Project manager Carolyn Wylie said the company had been speaking to people close to the site since July and was now in a position to share plans and to take on any feedback from public at planned open days.

Source:  By Amie HIckland, Wairarapa Times-Age, www.times-age.co.nz 13 October 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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