Contact Energy, New Zealand's biggest listed energy company, has been granted resource consent to build up to 168 wind turbines near the coast between Port Waikato and Raglan.

The Secretary for the Environment Dr Paul Reynolds said the 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.

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.

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