Further monitoring will be
carried out on the Kakanui Mountains to help establish the
feasibility of a wind farm being investigated by Waitaki Wind
The company - owned by former Meridian Energy chief executive
Keith Turner and former Waitaki mayor Alan McLay - started
monitoring two sites at Mt Stalker and Dome Hills in late
With 20 months of data now available, it had established Dome
Hills was not suitable and Mt Stalker was "in the interesting
category" but needed more monitoring, Dr Turner said last
Mt Stalker was "at the low end of the range but titillating"
when compared with other wind-farm sites in New Zealand.
The company would need to monitor other sites on Mt Stalker,
bringing in mobile equipment, as well as measuring the wind
shear on the present monitoring site to gain a better idea of
the resource available.
Dr Turner estimated another three to six months of data would
be needed before the company could progress further, such as
considering the type of turbines which would be needed, costs
and feasibility of the project.
Dr Turner met four North Otago supporters of the project
about two weeks ago to outline progress with investigations.
Data gathered from the next period of monitoring, combined
with that already obtained, would be used to decide whether
to go ahead with a pre-feasibility study on the economic
viability of building the wind farm.
Once that study was completed, a further decision would be
made on lodging resource consent applications.
Dr Turner emphasised the timeline for the project would
depend on the data gathered over the next three to six
However, he estimated the earliest resource consent
application could be filed was at least a year away.
Details of the project were first revealed in July 2009 at an
Environment Court hearing in Oamaru considering Meridian's
north bank tunnel concept power scheme on the lower Waitaki
Dr Turner and Mr McLay confirmed they had formed a company to
investigate the viability of a wind farm on the Kakanuis, but
the specific sites were not identified until later in the
year after negotiations with landowners.
They hoped the project would attract local investment if it
went ahead, becoming an asset owned within the North Otago
The initial proposal was to generate electricity for North
Otago through Network Waitaki's network.
However, whether electricity could also be supplied to the
national grid would depend on the results of monitoring, the
type of turbines installed and the size of the wind farm, if
it went ahead, Dr Turner said.