Potential wind farm site investigated

A wind farm company has been granted consent to install a monitoring mast on one of the highest points in the Clutha district as it investigates establishing a wind farm.

NZ Windfarms Ltd will erect a 30m-high weather monitoring mast on a Mt Stuart farm 16km northwest of Milton. The site is just over 411m above sea level.

The Clutha District Council granted consent late last month in a non-notified decision.

It had received written approval for the mast from the only neighbouring landowner who could be affected.

In its application, the company said the information collected by the mast would help with the analysis of the area's wind resource ‘‘with the view to a possible future wind farm proposal''.

Initial investigations revealed the site might have significant wind generation potential, it said.

The mast will be placed on gently sloping rural land close to Mt Stuart Rd. About 1km to the southeast are three other towers - a cellphone tower, a television/radio tower and a police repeater station.

When considering the merits of a site for a future wind farm, the company said it looked at variables including annual mean wind speed, overall potential environmental effects, ease of creating access and proximity to a distribution line.

‘‘Initial basic investigations of a number of the key variables indicate that this area of Mt Stuart may be suitable for a wind farm development,'' the application said.

The Mt Stuart site was not ‘‘visually intrusive'' and it was close to a cluster of other towers of similar height.

The mast would not generate any noise and the site was chosen because it was on privately owned land with no houses nearby.

In its decision, the council said the only issue that needed to be resolved was the planned height of the tower, which breached its district plan.

Despite its 30m height, the tower's diameter would be 25cm.

‘‘The thinness of the mast and its distance from property boundaries means that no other landowners or the general public will be affected. It is also important to note that the mast will only be temporary, so will not have any permanent or irreversible effects,'' the decision said.


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