Blown away by new wind farm

Not only has his dream come true but the late Alan Dickie has a wind turbine named after him.

Stage one of Mercury’s Kaiwera Wind Farm was commissioned yesterday.

The first stage consists of 10, 145 metre-high turbines. 

About 70 people attended the event where Mercury chairwoman Prue Flacks and Gore District Mayor Ben Bell cut the ribbon.

Mr Dickie’s widow, Valerie, was one of the guests at the commissioning.

In 2006, Trustpower approached the couple about using their farm in Hillary Rd as a possible wind farm site, Mrs Dickie said.

When it came time to sell the farm, the couple kept 88ha "hoping it would be a wind farm".

"We always kept that in our mind that it might progress over time."

Mr Dickie died five years ago, before Mercury announced its plans and he would have thought the wind farm was "amazing", Mrs Dickie said.

"It was his dream."

He would have enjoyed watching the building of the turbines and would have spent all day on the site, she said.

"He just loved machinery."

Turning a sod to start construction of the Kaiwera Downs wind farm was the first official...
Turning a sod to start construction of the Kaiwera Downs wind farm was the first official ceremony for Gore District Mayor Ben Bell. Yesterday, a year on, he and Mercury chairwoman Prue Flacks cut the ribbon to commission the wind farm. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Ms Flacks said the company believed relationships had been built during the project.

"Social licence is something that we must earn through the way we participate and contribute to this community."

She gave tribute to Mr Dickie, who was an "enthusiastic supporter of the project".

"We’re very proud to have turbine one, which is the one we’ll cut the ribbon on, named Alan’s Turbine in memory of a clever farmer and a fellow turbine enthusiast."

During the build 180,000cum of earth had been shifted and redistributed on the site, 7000 tonnes of concrete poured, 440 tonnes of reinforcing steel used, 6500m of cabling installed, 18km of overhead line to the Gore substation built, 90 components transported from Bluff to Kaiwera, 400 people inducted on to the site and almost 140,000 hours worked.

"These figures illustrate the sheer scale of the task."

Mr Bell said it was a pleasure to be back about a year after he had been part of the sod-turning ceremony.

The project came in under its budget of $110 million and was delivered on time.

Mercury is in the process of planning stage two and recently amended its resource consent for the project. 

The change to the resource consent, approved by the Gore District Council in July, allows for 66 turbines at a height of 165m.