A new wind monitoring mast in an Auckland forest may be the forerunner for a wind farm.
Nga Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara Ngahere has approved the installation of a Meridian Energy wind mast in its privately-owned Woodhill Forest, a media release said.
The 80-metre tall mast would collect data to assess the location’s “potential” to be a future wind farm site.
Meridian Energy’s Chris More said the mast would capture data on wind speed, and direction, at different heights above the ground.
“The mast will be in place until enough data has been gathered to confirm the viability of this site as an economically viable wind farm,” the wind maintenance and development manager said.
Meridian Energy would pay Nga Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara – the corporate identity for iwi Ngati Whatua o Kaipara – an undisclosed “rental” for use of the land.
“From a location perspective Woodhill Forest is desirable because it is close to a major electricity load centre (Auckland), is not too far from the Transpower transmission grid, and is close to an existing road network providing good access,” More said.
Construction would begin in June, near Restall Rd, Muriwai, preceded by a karakia, or blessing.
The mast was expected to be erected in July.
More said the mast would be transported to site, in a set of 3m sections, on a flat-bed truck and then erected on site either by crane or a helicopter.
He said there would be no impact on traffic during the construction period.
The development of a wind farm would be a separate process from the wind monitoring, More said.
“There has been no pre-determination that we would proceed to develop a wind farm, even if the wind resource proves to be good,” he said.
The release said representatives from the closest marae, Reweti Marae, were approached for feedback on the installation of the wind test mast and were “supportive”.
A second mast location has been consented but at this stage there were no plans to erect a second mast.
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