Now that Genesis Energy has agreed to buy its electricity the Waverley Wind Farm can go ahead, Tilt Renewables renewable development general manager Clayton Delmarter says.
Building turbines on 980ha of coastal land between Waverley and Patea could begin as early as the first half of next year - and there will probably be fewer than initially planned.
Partnering with Genesis Energy is a good opportunity for both Genesis and Tilt, Delmarter said.
Tilt doesn't sell electricity, and needed an agreement with a buyer. And Genesis needs to find more sources of renewably generated electricity.
The next few months will be the final design stage for the wind farm, and Delmarter said Tilt will provide more definite information as it becomes available.
There are likely to be fewer than the proposed 48 turbines, Delmarter said.
"The final number will be less than 48. It's probably going to be less than 30, because of technological developments."
Turbines are expected to be 160m high, with a 13km transmission line joining them to the Waverley substation.
Building the wind farm has been projected to employ up to 100 people for two years, and cost as much as $40 million.
After that it will probably provide about 10 ongoing jobs, and generate about $3.3m a year for the regional economy.
Wind farms are the most cost effective form of energy in every market, Delmarter said. They can help New Zealand further "decarbonise" its energy needs.
The Waverley Wind Farm was consented in July 2017, and a planned appeal against the consent was withdrawn. Resource consent hearings were held in May, and the development is fully consented.
It's also subject to many conditions, Delmarter said. Talks with KiwiRail and the NZ Transport Agency will follow, and Tilt is working closely with the Ngā Rauru iwi on a number of fronts.
There are also conditions relating to flora, fauna and water in the area, in agreement with the Conservation Department.
The wind farm site is mostly flat, and stretches across several farm properties. The owners will be paid a lease for use of the land, and will be able to continue grazing.
Tilt Renewables was split off from Trustpower two years ago. It builds, owns and operates wind farms in Australia and New Zealand, and has its head office in Melbourne.