Meridian Energy has been granted resource consent to replace the 21-year-old Brooklyn Wind Turbine situated in Wellington, which has reached the end of its practical operating life.
Last October, Meridian applied to Wellington City Council for resource consent to replace the current 45m turbine with a new turbine up to 77m in height (from ground to tip).
A resource consent hearing was held in May and resource consent for a new turbine was approved in late June. A subsequent three-week period followed to allow for any appeals to the Environment Court, but none were received, meaning Meridian can now proceed with the project.
Meridian general manager of external relations Guy Waipara said getting resource consent for a new Brooklyn turbine is great news for Meridian and Wellington.
“The current turbine has become iconic. It is part of the cityscape and is valued by the local community and the wider Wellington region. The importance of the turbine was highlighted in 2009 when it was out of service due to mechanical issues,” he said.
“A public campaign asking people whether they wanted to repair, replace or get rid of the turbine, showed 85 per cent wanted to repair or replace it.”
Mr Waipara said the increase in the size of a new turbine takes in to account that modern turbines have generally increased in both size and generation capability since the original Brooklyn Wind Turbine was introduced 21 years ago.
The current turbine produces about 870MW hours a year. The new turbine would generate around 3900MW hours a year – enough to power around 490 average New Zealand homes.
The original Brooklyn Wind Turbine was installed for research purposes but Mr Waipara said any replacement turbine would need to have a commercial return.
“In the last 20 years turbine technology has developed significantly and there are now different designs available that are more efficient and generally bigger,” he said.
A new turbine will sound slightly different to the old one, but the sound levels will be substantially the same and still within the New Zealand noise standard recommended levels.
The construction of a new turbine, which is estimated to cost between $2.5 to $3 million, is planned for 2015 and will take about 10 weeks.