Meridian renews wind farm permit


Meridian Energy, the country's largest renewable energy producer, will continue to renew its seven-year old permit to build the first wind farm in the Hastings district.

The company's resource consent would allow it to build two adjoining wind farms, the first for 75 wind turbines on the Maungaharuru Range and the second for 15 turbines on the neighbouring Titiokura Range.

The development was located off State Highway 5, on the Titiokura Saddle about 35km north west of Napier.

Meridian bought the resource consents to build the wind farms in 2010, from "Hawke's Bay Wind Farm", a company set up by a Wellington firm granted the permits in 2005.

Unison Networks applied for resource consent to build a larger wind farm in 2006, in the same area, but the Environment Court declined the plan.

In June, the court approved consent for Mighty River Power to build at 53-turbine wind farm in the Puketoi Range, 40km south of Dannevirke. It was Hawke's Bay's second consented wind farm, along with Meridian's.

Its Maungaharuru/Titiokura development was one of four wind and hydro schemes Meridian had consents granted or obtained for. Meridian's renewable development general manager Ken Smales could not say when work would begin on the wind farm.

"Until we've finished our investigations we're unable to comment further on the timing of construction, the number of jobs the wind farm would create or the potential capacity.

"We'll continue to maintain the consents and will keep the community informed about any developments."

Mr Smales said the Maungaharuru Range had a "good wind resource" and was strategically placed for a wind farm.

Meridian's environmental planner Chris Thomson made a presentation to Hastings District Council working party, meeting on Tuesday, where the results of a three-year review of the draft Hastings District Plan were discussed.

The plan provides the rules and regulations for a range of activities in the district, including those which guided the development and operation of wind farms.

Ms Thomson said other district councils had stand alone chapters in their district plans which dealt with district energy resources, including electricity generation from renewable resources.

Meridian also wanted wind energy to be named a legitimate activity in the rural zones, saying it had local, regional and national benefits.

- Hawkes Bay Today

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf01 at 22 Oct 2014 10:34:07 Processing Time: 499ms