Meridian Energy will get a second chance to keep its resource consent for its planned wind farm in northern Rangitikei.
Twelve days ago, Rangitikei District Council voted against extending the lapse date of the consent for Project Central Wind. Some councillors felt they hadn’t had sufficient time to assess the application and declined it knowing the expected objection from Meridian would buy more time.
Meridian immediately filed the objection and will again present its case at this Thursday’s council meeting where councillors will again vote on whether or not to grant the extension. Meridian has applied to extend the lapse date of the consent until May 2020. It was first granted in 2010.
Project Central Wind would be built across five privately owned rural properties on a site between Waiouru and Taihape. It would contain about 50 turbines generating an estimated 120-130 megawatts, enough to power up to 50,000 average homes.
For the extension to be granted, Meridian had to show it had made substantial progress or effort on the project, had approval from persons who might be adversely affected by its granting, and that it fitted with the objectives of Rangitikei’s district plan.
In its objection, Meridian representatives argued each of these had been met and that council had made the decision on basis that it would extend the time available to consider the application and not on the merits of the application.
The company intended to proceed with the project once market conditions suited.
However Rangitikei Guardians, a group of residents opposed to the application, said the lack of progress was creating uncertainty in the area, asked council to decline the consent. In the past week work by council has found some property owners “would have made a different decision had they known the consent was still live”.
“That means that Meridian has not obtained approval from all persons who may be adversely affected by the granting of an extension,” a council report said. It also said the majority were not adversely affected.
If council again declines the application it could trigger a hearing in front of an independent commissioner.
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