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$1.6b Wairarapa wind farm gets consent  

Credit:  Seamus Boyer, www.stuff.co.nz 20 March 2012 ~~

A $1.6 billion wind farm – the country’s largest – has been given the likely go-ahead to be built in Wairarapa.

Genesis Energy’s Castle Hill Wind Farm will dot hillsides throughout northern Wairarapa with up to 286 turbines and provide power for up to 370,000 homes.

As presently planned, the turbines would stand up to 155 metres high. But while consent is to be granted for the project, details of that consent have yet to be announced, and the company may decide not to go ahead.

A preliminary decision will be issued on March 30, with a final decision due two to four weeks after a closing statement from Genesis.

The height and number of turbines is likely to come down.

Resource hearing chairman Philip Milne said Genesis had not properly assessed the effects on amenity values, and ”further mitigation is practicable and required”.

That will include restrictions to the scale and density of turbines, the details of which are yet to be announced.

A Genesis spokesman acknowledged the company had received the statement.

Last month, Genesis chief executive Albert Brantley said irrespective of the resource consent process the company was unlikely to build any new generation projects for years, and when it did there was no guarantee the next project would be Castle Hill.

The wind farm site is located in a remote, sparsely populated area, which includes the settlements of Tinui, Pongaroa, Alfredton, Makuri, Tiraumea and Bideford.

The project will provide 185 jobs during construction, 40 ongoing jobs, and bring $247 million into the Masterton and Tararua districts.

Source:  Seamus Boyer, www.stuff.co.nz 20 March 2012

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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