November 13, 2014
New Zealand

Meridian wind farm land on the market

By Lynda Van Kempen | Otago Daily Times | Nov 14, 2014 |

Land bought by Meridian Energy for its controversial proposed $2 billion wind farm on the Lammermoor Range is on the market, spelling the final chapter of Project Hayes.

In January 2012, Meridian backed away from its six-year battle to construct the 633MW, 176-turbine wind farm. It withdrew its resource consent applications, which were before the Environment Court and said the project was shelved for commercial reasons.

The site for the farm covered 92sq km, part of five high-country stations. Meridian bought one of the stations, Logan Burn, at Paerau, in 2007, and entered into leases for the other land it needed. It also bought a smaller residential property in Mosgiel.

Logan Burn Station, which Meridian is now selling, has a rateable value of $6.6 million and covers 1876ha. It is used for sheep, beef and deer farming, as well as dairy support, and the buildings include a five-bedroom home and a three-bedroom home.

Meridian spokeswoman Michelle Brooker said yesterday the Paerau and Mosgiel properties were on the market.

Asked whether disposing of the properties meant Meridian had no intention of reviving plans for the wind farm in that location, even on a smaller scale than Project Hayes, Ms Brooker said there were “currently no plans for a wind farm in this area”.

The Riccarton Rd, Mosgiel, house had a capital value of $320,000 and a land value of $144,000 and was already under contract, she said.

Save Central was one of the organisations which opposed the wind farm and the group’s spokesman Graye Shattky said yesterday the sale of the Paerau land would bring closure for the Project Hayes opponents.

“Despite the decision to shelve Project Hayes, there was always the possibility, some time in the future, Meridian might revive the plans, but the news of the land being for sale suggests that’s unlikely now to ever happen,” he said.

“It seems the landscape is protected for perpetuity.”

The concerns of most of the Project Hayes opponents were about the visual impact and the scale of the proposal.

When Meridian pulled the plug on the wind farm in early 2012, it said it had spent $8.9 million on the project. The company said the project had not been “abandoned” but there were no plans to resurrect it.

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