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Genesis appeals against its own windfarm  

Credit:  Seamus Boyer | Business Day | www.stuff.co.nz 31 July 2012 ~~

Opponents of a $1.6 billion wind farm planned for Wairarapa are hoping to quash a decision giving the controversial project the go-ahead.

Four appeals have been lodged with the Environment Court over Genesis Energy’s proposed Castle Hill Wind Farm, which was granted resource consent by a hearing panel last month.

Three appeals have come from concerned residents who question health and safety aspects of the project, while the third comes from Genesis itself, which is unhappy with a number of the final conditions.

The proposed site is located 20km east of Eketahuna and Pahiatua, 20km north-east of Masterton and 15km west of the Wairarapa coast north of Castlepoint.

Calling for the complete dismissal of the project, the Castle Hill Wind Farm Community Action Group has submitted that it would have a devastating effect on health and safety of the community.

The size of the project would also have adverse social, cultural, economic, and environmental effects.

”The decision places too much emphasis on the… benefits of the proposed wind farm and places insufficient emphasis on the adverse effects that the proposal will have on the local environment.”

The entire project is also opposed by the Alfredton Educational Trust, which said the safety of children and drivers on the Alfredton School bus routes would be compromised.

Brent Weston, who farms on Waitawhiti Rd, was contesting the position of one turbine, which he said would be just 150 metres from an airstrip on his property used by top-dressing pilots.

”I have to be able to provide a safe airstrip, I don’t want to be responsible for a pilot killing themselves.

”Everything has got to have a safety margin these days.

”Is that enough room for a plane to safely turn around? No, it’s not.”

Originally Genesis applied to build 286 turbines at 135m high, or 242 turbines at 155m high, capable of generating enough electricity to cover up to 370,000 average New Zealand households.

However, it was only given approval to build 267 turbines of up to 135m high, with more than 50 of the turbines required to be no taller than 115m.

The decision ”unreasonably restricted” the placement and size of turbines, limiting the project’s flexibility and efficiency, the company’s appeal document noted.

Richard Gordon, a spokesman for Genesis, said the company would not comment on the matter before a decision was made.

It is not yet known whether the appeals will be heard by the court.

Source:  Seamus Boyer | Business Day | www.stuff.co.nz 31 July 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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