A proposed wind farm at the northern end of the Kaimai Range could supply clean energy to up 49,000 households.
Auckland-based Ventus Energy hopes to install 28 wind turbines with an output of 100MW on privately-owned farmland.
Director Glenn Starr said the wind farm would ensure greater security of electricity supply and would provide construction and maintenance jobs while reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Data had been gathered on birdlife, geotechnical, archaeology, access, background noise and visibility issues, he said.
Ventus communications co-ordinator Mordecai Matan said the farm would be “middle range” in size, compared with others in New Zealand.
Tirohia farmer Mat Denize was one landowner willing to have 12 turbines on his 600ha farm.
“I think it’s good, it’s clean energy,” he said. “We were pretty happy – the landowners get a royalty which will be great, and it doesn’t take up much of your farm.”
Katikati/Waihi ward councillor Peter Mackay said he favoured wind farms, although some Waihi Beach residents might be able to see them on the skyline.
“I grew up in that district and spent quite a bit of time hunting goats along that ridge, and you couldn’t argue about how strong the wind can be up there.”
Mr Mackay acknowledged that skyline visibility had caused concern in previous applications for wind farms on or near the West Coast and Raglan. Residents would have a right to have their say under the Resource Management Act.
Hauraki mayor John Tregidga said the council had been notified of progress towards looking at resource consent.
He wanted to see details of the application and how it might impact on areas such as the Karangahake Scenic Reserve, but he generally supported wind farms.
“I am also conscious it does have an impact on the landscape values. I think it’s an issue for the community to decide.”
Hauraki District Council Paeroa Ward chairman Paul Milner said he would need to see a greater level of detail of the wind farm plans before being able to comment specifically, but he was sure the community would be interested in being involved in upcoming consultation processes.
Waikato Regional Council communications adviser Wendy Valois confirmed the council had received a letter from Ventus Energy which signalled the proposed location of the wind farm near Paeroa.
“We have not yet received a resource consent application and understand the company is undertaking consultation with the public and further investigations before doing so.”
Ventus had been investigating the viability for a wind farm in the area since 2005 and was consulting with local landowners, seven iwi, councils and other interested parties.
The final number of turbines, exact location and size would be determined later.
Ventus Energy will hold a public information day at the Tirohia School hall.
Ventus says interested parties are welcome to attend.
The date will be announced on the website www.kaimaiwind.nz.
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