Hurunui wind farm granted consent

Meridian Energy – New Zealand’s largest power generator – has been granted consent by the Environment Court to build a 31 turbine wind farm on private farm in between Omihi and Greta Valley in North Canterbury.

“Meridian welcomes the decision which gives us a strategic renewable generation option for the future,” Meridian Energy general manager renewable development Ken Smales said.

The wind farm will generate 71.3MW: enough to power 32,000 average New Zealand homes a year. It would make a meaningful contribution to power supply in the upper south Island.

The $200 million Project Hurunui wind farm was heard by the Environment Court in August/September 2012. The Court removed two of the 33 turbines applied for in the consent because of view from certain private properties.

The community and various experts gave evidence at the hearing. The court was satisfied the wind farm would meet the noise standard requirements and that Meridian had a management programme to deal with any adverse effects on traffic, recreation and flora and fauna.

“We know the community will be interested in when we plan to build,” Mr Smales said.

“Our decision to build will be determined by market conditions and the project meeting Meridian’s investment requirements. At the moment given the flat market demand it is likely that we’re looking at the medium term for construction.

“We had an extensive community consultation process and we will continue to keep the community informed of our decision to progress this project,” Mr Smales said.