Genesis Energy has secured resource consents for what would be the largest wind farm in New Zealand, a 286-turbine development in a remote part of Wairarapa.
However, low demand growth for electricity means it is unlikely to be built for many years.
“With a 10-year lapse period and a 10-year construction period, the Castle Hill wind farm is a long term development option,” said chief executive Albert Brantley in a statement which confirmed there were no immediate plans to start construction.
Capable of producing 860 megawatts of electricity at full production, the development would dwarf the largest wind farm in New Zealand, Meridian Energy’s 62-turbine 143MW West Wind development in the hills west of Wellington.
Castle Hill would be sited north of Masterton and west of Eketahuna and is close to Contact Energy’s proposed 177MW wind farm at its Waitahora site, Mighty River Power’s proposal for a 318MW wind farm at Puketo, TrustPower’s Tararua wind farm, rated at 161MW, and a Meridian proposal for a 60MW wind development to the south, at Mt Munro.
None is in prospect of being built in the near future.
Opponents had appealed against resource consents granted by the Masterton and Tararua District Councils, the Greater Wellington and Horizons Regional Councils in June last year.
But Thursday’s announcement follows the resolution of outstanding issues by mutual agreement rather than Environment Court hearings.
Energy Minister Simon Bridges welcomed the announcement as “a major boost” for renewable energy investment, in line with a target to generate 90 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
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