Trustpower revives plans for wind farm at Waverley

By laurel.stowell@wanganuichronicle.co.nz

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AT A DISTANCE: A mock-up of what the wind turbines will look like from SH3 looking southwest. GRAPHIC/TRUSTPOWER
AT A DISTANCE: A mock-up of what the wind turbines will look like from SH3 looking southwest. GRAPHIC/TRUSTPOWER

The proposed Waverley Wind Farm will have as many as 48 turbines, each 160m tall, Trustpower's resource consent application says.

The electricity retailer and generator has applied to South Taranaki District Council for consent to build, operate and maintain the wind farm and its transmission line.

The consent would be publicly notified and open for submissions next week, a council planner said.

Trustpower has made a separate application to Taranaki Regional Council for land use and water and discharge permits, with those permits mainly needed during construction.

The regional council responded by asking for more information, Trustpower community relations manager Graeme Purches said.

South Taranaki District Council planning manager Blair Sutherland sent a copy of Trustpower's application to the Chronicle.

It's a hefty document that overflows a single ringbinder but sounds similar to what was proposed three years ago.

The site covers 980ha on the South Taranaki coast, 6km southeast of Patea and 7km southwest of Waverley. Most of the land is owned by John and David Alexander, Warwick and Ruth Lupton, Philip Crawford and Standalone Farms.

It's used for agriculture and grazing, and the application says that can mostly continue during and after construction. The land is fairly flat, and much of it was used and modified in an ironsand mining operation during the 1970s and 80s.

The site will need 25-30km of internal roads, the application says. Then there is also to be a transmission line, 13km long, taking electricity generated to a substation at Mangatangi Rd in Waverley. During construction, the site will need its own concrete batching plant.

The wind turbines will have to be lit at night to warn aircraft, and the site will have four wind-monitoring masts.

Its prevailing northwest and southeast winds will generate 460GWH a year.

Trustpower did a lot of consultation about the wind farm in 2012-13. The main concerns people raised then were noise and the sight of the large turbines - they will be visible from both Patea and Waverley.

The company has asked for 10 years to build the wind farm, before the consent lapses.

New Zealand's demand for electricity was growing slowly but consistently, Mr Purches said. Trustpower both sells and generates electricity, and is mainly New Zealand-owned. It has 19 hydro schemes in New Zealand, including the Patea Power Scheme, and two wind farms, including the Tararua Wind Farm. It has another six hydro and wind-generating schemes in Australia.

The application says new sources of electricity are needed because four of the country's gas and coal-fired generators are to be decommissioned. Wind generation will also make the country less dependent on water in the South Island's hydro lakes. Only 5.2 per cent of New Zealand's electricity is now generated by wind. The Waverley Wind Farm would add another 1.4 per cent.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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