Genesis Energy is pushing ahead with plans to build a wind farm near Masterton that could be one of the biggest in the country.

Wind monitoring at Castle Hill pointed to potential generating capacity of up to 600MW, although the number of wind turbines, and their location and size, had not been decided, Genesis chief executive Albert Brantley said.

The company has a target to build 300MW of renewable energy generation by 2015. Genesis already owns the 8.65MW Hau Nui wind farm in southern Wairarapa,

The company intends to seek a resource consent around the middle of next year for Castle Hill, where it has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on wind testing and monitoring for the past year.

Genesis has signed agreements with 27 owners of land at the site, with around 4000ha suitable for wind farm development. If it moved to build the wind farm, it would be built in stages over several years.

Meridian Energy's plans to build a wind farm near Martinborough has met fierce local opposition.

Genesis says it will conduct open days, one-on-one conversations and meetings with representative groups during the course of the consultation programme. "The consent application will take into account feedback from this community consultation on the project."