South Taranaki wind farm plan on again

By Laurel Stowell

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An on-again, off-again wind farm planned for coastal South Taranaki could be on again.

Trustpower has applied to South Taranaki District Council and Taranaki Regional Council for consent to build the farm, most probably on the coast between Waverley and Patea.

South Taranaki District Council planning manager Blair Sutherland said the application was complete. It now requires public notification, with public submissions likely to be called for next week.

The application was no surprise, Mr Sutherland said, noting: "We have known since Allco days about the wind resource on that site."

Resource consent was first lodged for a wind farm on the South Taranaki coast in 2007, by Australian company Allco Wind Energy, but Allco went broke and the application was withdrawn.

NZ electricity generator TrustPower took up the idea. After extensive consultation in 2012-13, it intended to lodge consents in March 2013. That never happened because demand fell short. But electricity demand is now growing slowly and consistently, TrustPower community relations manager Graeme Purches said.

Also, New Zealand is committed to climate change protocols.

The Waverley project is a good one for Trustpower because it complements the Trustpower wind farm in the Tararuas. When wind is blowing on the coast it tends not to be in the Tararuas, and vice versa.

It could take TrustPower a year to get consent, Mr Purches said. After that it will typically have five years to build the farm, and may not build immediately.

The new proposal has a lot of differences from that consulted on in 2012-13, but it's still big.

Technology has changed, and the new turbine design will need less concrete and be more reliable and efficient, he said.

Details of the new proposal will be available as soon as submissions are sought.

TrustPower generates electricity almost entirely from wind and water. It has the largest wind farm in Australasia at Snowtown in South Australia.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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