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Wind farm on hold

Mighty River Power has confirmed that Cape Campbell near Ward is an excellent site for wind power generation, but the economics for building a wind farm will not stack up in the foreseeable future.

This was the impression farmer Kevin Loe, of The Homestead, got as part of a groupof eight Cape Campbell landowners invited to Taupoby Mighty River Power lastweek.

The landowners live on properties where the electricity generation and retail company is researching the potential for wind farms.

Mr Loe said the economic downturn, the Canterbury earthquake, efficiency improvements and more easily tapped potential in geothermal power meant there was no immediate demand for more wind generation.

Mighty River, which paid landowners so it could do research on their properties, had been excellent to deal with, he said.

Mighty River development general manager Mark Trigg said wind energy was expected to play an important role in the company’s long-term development strategy. Consent was granted for a wind farm at Turitea near Palmerston North late last year and plans for a site in the Puketoi Range in the Tararua district would go to a hearing next month.

Mr Trigg said multi-year lead times between investigating sites and securing consents meant it was vital to keep research going. This way, the company would be poised to move quickly when growth in electricity demand recovered.

At the Taupo meeting were Mighty River project manager John Worth and land access management and landowner liaison representatives.

In its 2011 energy outlook, the Economic Development Ministry said growth in demand for electricity had slowed to 0.3 per cent a year, from 2.2 per cent between 1992 and 2005.