A man who opposed a wind farm near Dunedin that would have been less than 500m from his home has called on the Dunedin City Council to tighten its planning rules concerning wind farms.
Dr Simon Ryan’s home would have been close to the project, which was recently denied resource consent, that would have developed three wind turbines on Porteous Hill, north of Dunedin.
Yesterday, he appeared at the council’s 2GP district plan hearings and proposed a rule that any turbine over 75m high must be 2km from homes.
He said in his submission wind-farm technology was “viewed by many international planners and energy experts in some measure as last century’s technology”.
Wind technology was still significant, but in countries where fossil fuel dependence was far greater than New Zealand, and Dunedin in particular.
“We are not burning millions of tonnes of fossil fuel to generate electricity here,” Dr Ryan said.
In the South Island electricity generation was 98% sustainable, being powered by hydro or wind, with less than 1% oil and 1% coal.
He said he had a strong interest in tidal and solar generation, and technology was improving all the time.
The recent promotion of the Porteous Hill turbines was “heavily couched in highly emotive, planet-saving semi-survivalist rhetoric which has served to make evidence-based discussion of our actual renewable energy situation more difficult than it should be”.
He said as someone who was a strong supporter of renewable energy initiatives, that was “deeply troubling”.
Dr Ryan called on the hearings committee to make changes including requiring the status of wind generators over 75m to be non-complying and notifiable in rural and rural-residential zones.
He also asked for a “set-back” rule, so turbines over 75m had to be 2km from homes in the Dunedin area.
Cr Aaron Hawkins said others had asked for restrictions on wind farms in various zones, so “where do they go”?
Dr Ryan there were wind farms in Otago that did not negatively affect anybody.
“It’s not a blanket ban I’m proposing here.”
He said with the right rules in place, wind farms would be able to get consent.
The hearings continue next week, when industrial zones will be discussed.
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