Photo / Rob Edwards
Contact Energy has been granted approval to build New Zealand’s largest wind farm near the coast between Raglan and Port Waikato.
The 168 wind turbines at the Hauauru ma raki farm could not be higher than 150 metres, with a maximum of three blades of up to 50 metres long each, said Secretary for the Environment Dr Paul Reynolds.
The announcement marks an end to the consents process, but it unlikely to see development start in a hurry, with Contact’s former managing director David Baldwin indicating in February that construction could be some years away while the company develops more cost-efficient geothermal options.
The consultation process encompassed affected councils, 83 submitters and the Minister for the Environment.
Local landowner and businessman Ross Townshend argued that wind farms were an expensive form of energy generation which were getting green lights because of green politics.
Mr Townshend who owns two properties at the southern end of the area to be covered by wind turbines, said no to turbines on his farm and he did not want to view of 17 of them on a nearby hillside.
Contact Chief Executive, Dennis Barnes said it was pleasing to get the final consent for Hauauru ma raki which would generate up to 504 megawatts of power – enough to power around 170,000 homes.
Sources: BusinessDesk / Newstalk ZB / NZPA / NZ Herald Online