There may still be wind turbines on the horizon at Kaiwera Downs near Gore.
Tilt Renewables, which now owns the Kaiwera Downs Wind Farm project, says it is waiting on favourable market conditions before any further development takes place, project manager Jim Pearson said.
“There are no immediate plans to ramp things up but we have done a lot of work in the last five to six years to secure a route for transmission lines to the Gore substation.
“The opening of the fourth Tiwai potline and the dairy decarbonisation and moving to electricity in that industry are positives.”
Pearson said other factors, such as the exchange rate and the availability of turbines, also had to be considered.
A 10-year resource consent for the proposed farm, which would use 83 wind turbines to generate 240MW, runs out in May next year.
If it ran out before any work happened at the site the company would look to extend it, he said.
“The bottom line is that Kaiwera is still a good project.”
Gore District Council chief executive Steve Parry said he understood Tilt was starting some work to keep the resource consent alive.
“If it did lapse, it would be a sad end to what was a pretty ‘knock ’em down’ consent process.
“Some farmers that had turbines on their land were set to get royalty payments and there were those that would just have to walk out their back doors and look at this big ediface and they weren’t receiving anything.
“It got pretty bitter and twisted to be honest.”
The site was one of the best in the country in terms of wind and proximity to power lines, he said.
“It would be a tragedy if it all falls over.”
Environment Southland said Tararua Wind Power Ltd hold six current consents which were granted in 2009 associated with the construction of the wind farm.
The project is now owned by Tilt Renewables after Trustpower received final court approval for its demerger and listing of its Australian and New Zealand wind businesses in 2016.
In November 2007, Trustpower submitted an application for resource consent to the Gore District Council and Environment Southland for a wind farm 15 kilometres southeast of Gore.
The councils granted consent to the project in June 2008, following a public submissions and hearing process. This decision was appealed to the Environment Court.
Trustpower and the Gore District Council reached an agreement regarding Trustpower’s appeal of the development levy, membership of the community consultation group, and shadow flicker conditions.
The Upland Landscape Protection Society withdrew their appeal in February 2009.
Tilt Renewables operates the 12 turbine Mahingerangi Wind Farm near Dunedin and plans to expand it “at some stage” the company’s website says.
The company is currently the subject of a takeover bid by Infratil and Mercury Energy.
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