In just over a year, New Zealand will be hosting the southern hemisphere's largest wind farm following the announcement of the construction start of the Tararua Wind Power Project near Palmerston North. Forty-eight Vestas V47 turbines will be installed to provide just over 20% of the annual energy requirements for local electricity company CentralPower. The announcement was made at a public forum in Palmerston North, held as part of an energy conference, by New Zealand Wind Energy Association chairman Paul van Lieshout on behalf of Tararua Wind Power. Van Lieshout's connection with the 31.7 MW wind farm has been a long term one -- some five years ago he was part of the DesignPower team that examined 14 proposed sites within CentralPower's area. Since then DesignPower has undertaken technical assessments and assisted with the all important resource consent process under the Resource Management Act (RMA) to gain the project's go-ahead. DesignPower is now subcontracted to Vestas to support the development. At the forum, attended by representatives from New Zealand's main political parties, Van Lieshout noted the project is going ahead "despite the politician's inaction to streamline the RMA processes and inaction to provide an economic level playing field." He estimated the project will avoid the annual emission of 140 million kilograms of carbon dioxide. The public forum was to discuss the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse gas emissions.
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