Submissions to be sought on wind farm

Scott Willis.
Scott Willis.
A resource consent application for a proposed $5 million-$6 million three-turbine wind farm development near Waitati, north of Dunedin, is to be publicly notified, the Dunedin City Council has decided.

Blueskin Energy Ltd is a social enterprise owned by the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust which seeks to build the turbines and become an electricity generator, with most of the power sold to a single commercial consumer in Dunedin.

Blueskin Energy project manager Scott Willis said the trust would in turn reinvest the income into Blueskin area community projects, such as subsidised insulation and solar installations to reduce household emissions, work on managing a housing retreat from high hazard zones in the Blueskin area because of rising sea levels, and expanding the trust's Cosy Homes work.

Local landowners have given their permission for construction and operation of the wind farm, on Porteous Hill, just to the north of Waitati off State Highway 1, within a 24ha site.

The up to 900kW turbines will stand about 90m high, at the height of the blade tip.

Mr Willis confirmed the resource consent application would this week be made publicly notifiable by council, meaning public submissions on the project would be sought.

The trust requires consent for site development work, including extension of an access road, base excavation to 2.5m deep and 12m diameter foundation construction, turbine erection and installation of a national grid connection.

Porteous Hill is designated a ''rural zone'', with the wind farm project a ''community support activity'', requiring resource consent as a restricted ''discretionary activity''.

The trust initially had a 10m wind-measuring mast on site, since replaced by a 30m mast in early 2013.

The wind farm is expected to return an annual dividend to the trust, so it can maintain and boost delivery of local social and environmental services.

Mr Willis said there had been many meetings with the community about the proposed development, since it was first mooted in 2006, covering all aspects of its consenting, construction, operation and the trust's goals.

''We're confident that community involvement, participation and engagement in the project has been thorough,'' Mr Willis said.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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