29 Sep 2006
TrustPower has announced changes to its Mahinerangi wind farm project, aimed at speeding up the construction of initial stages, and allaying concerns about potential environmental impact.
The proposal is for 300MW of wind generation to be built near Lake Mahinerangi, which feed's TrustPower's existing 84MW Waipori hydro generation scheme.
TrustPower's intention is to build the wind farm in stages,
most likely of 100MW each, to keep pace with the growing demand for electricity in the Otago region. By connecting directly into existing circuits supplying Dunedin city, the wind farm will improve security of supply for Dunedin and the surrounding area, and free up electricity currently imported from Roxburgh to meet rapidly growing demand in the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes areas, as well as South Otago.
TrustPower had originally applied to the Dunedin City, Clutha District and Otago Regional Councils for Resource Consents to build the proposed 300MW wind farm on a mix of private and Dunedin City Council owned land. After listening to concerns about environmental impact in relation to tussock and water supplies involving the land owned by Dunedin City, TrustPower has now decided to apply only for consents related to developing the wind farm on private land, for which it already has signed landowner agreements.
TrustPower Chief Executive Keith Tempest says TrustPower still wishes to develop the full 300MW wind-farm, but has taken a pragmatic decision to delay its resource consent application for the area involving the Dunedin City Council
land until the first two stages have been competed.
"This will give Dunedin City Council and the public an opportunity to see for themselves the impact of building and operating a wind farm, and we believe this will allay many of the concerns expressed over recent months. At the same time, removing key areas of contention from the proposal at this time will we believe simplify the resource
consent process for the initial stages, allowing us to develop the wind farm in tandem with increasing electricity
As a result of the changes, TrustPower will withdraw its Resource Consent application to the Dunedin City Council, and submit revised Resource Consent applications for a 200MW wind farm to the Clutha District and Otago Regional Councils. The revised applications, along with assessments of environmental effect, are expected to be lodged in approximately six weeks.
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