It is the symbol of the Wellington suburb of Brooklyn, but the possibility the wind turbine could stand 30 metres taller has some residents worried.
Meridian Energy has confirmed it is investigating a new wind turbine for the top of the Brooklyn hill, as the present one is 20 years old and reaching the end of its life.
Chief executive Mark Binns said Meridian was in the early stages of the project and was looking to apply for a resource consent next month.
“Wellington City Council recently approved an extension on the lease of the land on which the turbine stands. The new lease will cover the lifetime of a replacement turbine and allows the option of installing a larger turbine.”
The original turbine stands at 45 metres from base to blade tip and the council lease would allow a replacement as tall as 77m. The new turbine would be bigger because modern ones had increased in size and capability since the original turbine was built in 1993.
“The original turbine was installed for research purposes but any replacement turbine would need to have a commercial return.”
Brooklyn Residents Association secretary Carl Savage said any proposal needed to be fully discussed with locals.
“It’s rather iconic for Wellington and Brooklyn but we as a community have had concerns about the potential size of it. More consultation on the size would be required,” Mr Savage said.
Discussions in recent years with residents in Makara and Long Gully over proposed wind farms had shown the problems with installing large turbines near residential areas.
“The concern it creates is about the level of noise a larger turbine would produce . . . this is something we’re keeping a pretty close eye on.”
The council’s natural environment portfolio leader, Helene Ritchie, said she understood the extended lease would allow Meridian another 20 years at the Brooklyn site but no resource consent had been granted yet.
“The turbine is a bit of a monument for the city; it exists as a beacon for Wellington, and shows that we celebrate our windy city status, but also as a tourist attraction.
“My concern is that with a greater-sized turbine, there would be a greater footprint. I would be concerned if that footprint extended enough to take away from the natural environment in the area.”
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