New Zealand

New Zealand

Horse and nature protection rule

Proposals for two more wind farms in New Zealand have been rejected on grounds that they would negatively impact the local environment. In the North Island, Tararua District Council and Horizons Regional Council rejected Contact Energy's planned 177 MW Waitahora wind farm on the Puketoi Range. The commissioners said they were unable to judge the scale of the 65 turbine project, as New Zealand has nothing comparable as yet.

They fear the wind farm would "significantly detract from the landscape values" of the range, they cite potential contamination of ground water sources, and fear a detrimental effect on the wellbeing of nearby thoroughbred horses. Contact also asked for a ten-year period to start construction, which came in for criticism.

In the South Island, a 41.8-78 MW wind farm proposed by local developer MainPower at Mount Cass in the North Canterbury region was refused by Hurunui District Council because it will "degrade an outstanding natural feature of national significance." MainPower is considering appealing the case, which would have seen either 26, 3 MW turbines supplied from overseas or 83, 500 kW machines from local manufacturer Windflow Technology. Around 200 jobs would have been created and NZ$38 million (EUR 16.4 million) pumped into the regional economy during construction, says MainPower.

The decisions on the MainPower and Contact Energy proposals come a month after the environment court rejected Unison Networks plan for the 102 MW Te Waka wind farm. Te Waka was blocked despite the proposal having been called in for fast tracking as a project of national significance by the environment ministry, bypassing the district council consent process and going straight for review to the environment court.

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