The Environment Court has confirmed the resource consent
conditions for a proposed Mahinerangi Windfarm in Otago,
despite high profile opposition from former All Black Anton
Oliver and poet Brian Turner, says power company TrustPower.
Opponents now have a chance to make submissions on a revised
layout for the farm's turbines.
The 200MW farm, which would be the largest in New Zealand,
would overlook Lake Mahinerangi from the foothills of the
Lammerlaw range, 40km west of Dunedin.
TrustPower had been granted resource consents for the farm
with a maximum of 100 turbines each with a maximum height of
145 metres spread over 1723ha.
The consents were appealed to the Environment Court by
Contact Energy and The Uplands Landscape Protection Society.
Both appeals were dismissed, but the court ordered TrustPower
to further refine its wind farm layout by specifying detailed
turbine locations, and allowed Uplands to make submissions on
the revised layout.
Copies of the court's decision have been sent to the parties
involved and are not yet available to the news media.
TrustPower community relations manager Graeme Purches said
the company would now assess the economic viability of the
project, with a view to being in a position to proceed when
economic conditions gelled.
"There are a number of issues to be resolved before
construction can proceed. The current exchange rate makes it
difficult to purchase turbines unless that changes or the
turbine price falls dramatically, and in addition to that
there are still issues around charges for the HVDC link,
which projects like this currently have to pay even though
the energy generated will be used locally."
In its decision, the Environment Court signalled costs would
be the subject of a separate decision. TrustPower, the Clutha
District Council and Otago Regional Council have filed
applications for costs totalling more than $30,000 against
the Uplands Landscape Protection Society.
All Black Oliver, Turner, artists Grahame Sydney and Marilynn
Webb are among opponents of both TrustPower's scheme and
Meridian's Project Hayes.