Zoning/Planning and Australia / New Zealand
Goulburn MP Pru Goward said last month that residents were only told about the change on January 31, giving them just two weeks to object to the formal proposal.
The Taralga Landscape Guardians residents group alleged the Department knew about the proposed modification in November 2007, and deliberately kept those details from them.
With a mix of pointy-headed science and gratuitous insults, he delivered a 212 hour dissertation on the problems with wind farms, Wel Networks, the Resource Management Act process, and new trends in the energy sector.
Earlier Wel Networks had painted him as an unreliable witness who lacked credibility, but Mr Cox scored plenty of hits in concluding the wind farm was "an economic and power supply disaster".
"If it had been built a year ago it would not have earned enough in the last year at wholesale power rates to get close to covering its interest payments," he said.
The Friends of the Turitea Reserve Society have struck the first blow in their fight with Palmerston North City Council over the proposed wind farm in the Turitea Reserve.
The society is taking the council to court over over the council’s decision to allow renewable electricity generation in the reserve - it wants a judge to have a look at the decision, which it believes is illegal.
The hearing will be held in the High Court in Wellington on April 30.
The Government's call for more renewable energy is being hobbled by slow consent processes for wind farms, prompting Environment Minister David Benson-Pope to call in chief environment judge John Bollard to discuss the delays.
The meeting comes as a row simmers between the Government and state generator Meridian over its planned 630-megawatt Project Hayes wind farm in Otago.
Plans for two small wind farms totalling 30 turbines on properties at Caramut and Woorndoo have been revealed.
Energy company NewEn Australia has lodged planning applications for a 15-turbine project on each of two farms on the border of Moyne and the Southern Grampians shires.
The sites are at Woodhouse, near Caramut, and the Salt Creek Merino stud at Woorndoo.
On the sixth day of the hearing at Tuakau yesterday, that continued when Contact witness Chris James the "lead wind farm civil designer" and a Beca-employed consultant, according to his evidence-in-chief copped a verbal mauling from commissioners.
They even went as far as questioning his credentials and qualifications to be giving evidence on civil engineering matters for the Hauauru ma raki west coast project.
If more turbines aren't consented, the Motorimu wind farm won't be viable.
This was the message from Hugh Rennie QC, counsel for Motorimu Wind Farm Ltd, during day one of an Environment Court hearing at the Convention Centre in Palmerston North.
The hearing, expected to take three weeks, is to consider an appeal by the wind farm over an independent commission's decision to consent 75 turbines, 52 fewer than the requested number.
Trustpower's appeal against the resource consent for its $380 million wind farm near Gore was likely to be resolved without going to an Environment Court hearing, Gore district planner Keith Hovell said yesterday. ...The levy, which was set by the Gore District Council's consent panel at 0.2 percent of the project's cost, or about $760,000, was one of three consent conditions Trustpower has objected to. Its appeal also opposed shadow flicker rules and the composition of a community consultation group.
A public interest group has withdrawn its appeal against a large-scale wind farm near Gore, but the power company behind the $400 million project says the New Zealand exchange rate needs to improve before construction can start.
The Upland Landscape Protection Society's decision clears the way for the Eastern Southland wind farm, one of two such developments planned by TrustPower.
The New South Wales Government has given planning approval for a wind farm at Gullen Range, near Goulburn in the state's south, despite an ongoing case in the Land and Environment Court.
The Government has given the $250 million plan the green light after putting in place measures to protect the powerful owl and the wedgetail eagle.
A $250 million wind farm planned for rural Victoria will help "drought-proof" struggling farms, the company behind the project says.
The Victorian government on Thursday signed off WestWind Energy's plan to build a 160-megawatt wind farm at Mt Mercer, 30km south of Ballarat.
A $145 million wind farm planned for Hawkesdale is expected to be supported by Moyne Shire Council today.
The support would come despite residents’ concerns the project would devalue land and harm farming activities and future building projects.
Four objectors told councillors last week the wind farm would have major consequences for their farms.
They said buffer zones between turbines and nearby dwellings would affect future development.
Another told of how one home was within the company’s self-imposed 1000-metre buffer zone from a turbine.
The last objector to speak questioned the energy’s efficiency.
Wel Networks' proposal to build a $200 million wind farm at Te Uku will almost certainly end up in the Environment Court.
The hearing into the 28-turbine project, which began on November 19, finally wrapped up in Ngaruawahia yesterday, with four commissioners chaired by Michael Savage now charged with ruling on Wel's application.
But the battle lines in this saga have become so firmly drawn it will be a major surprise if their decision whatever it may be is not appealed to the Environment Court.
The decision by a panel of commissioners released today by Waikato District Council to approve resource consent for the project comes after five years of Wel investigations into wind power generation, and two years of feasibility studies on the Wharauroa Plateau in Te Uku.
The decision also comes in a week where the Government's energy policies have been creaking at the joints, with blackout fears escalating and a decision made to reopen a mothballed thermal station in Taranaki but in climatic conditions not conducive to a wind farm.
Wel's project team is now engaged in fully understanding the 148-page ruling and 26 pages of conditions, but chief executive Julian Elder welcomed the decision.
Steve Bracks has launched a fresh attack on the Greens, accusing the minor party of lukewarm support for wind farms, a position he said was “ridiculous”.............. The Greens are campaigning to stop the Bald Hills wind farm in the seat of Gippsland South, saying that while renewable energy projects were preferable to coal and nuclear power, they should be appropriately located.
Opinions about the proposed Hawkesdale wind farm are being sought by Moyne Shire to prepare a report about the council’s position on the project.
Gamesa Energy Australia unveiled plans for the Hawkesdale farm a week ago for public comment.
A group of residents took their opposition to a proposed wind farm on a reserve near Palmerston North to the High Court at Wellington today.
In August 2005 the Palmerston North City Council signed a partnership deal with Mighty River Power to develop a $300m wind farm on the reserve, 10km east of the central city.
The original plan said the farm would have at least 40 turbines, generating about 120-150MW electricity, and Mighty River Power would make an annual payment to the city.
The reserve was previously designated as being for local purposes, water supply and the protection of flora and fauna. But in October last year the council added another use, allowing it to be used as a renewable energy resource.
The Friends of the Turitea Reserve Society are seeking judicial review of the council's decision to change the purpose to accommodate energy generation.
The South Australian Government has refused to vary major development approval of a wind farm proposed for the Myponga-Sellicks Hill area. ...He says major development status was given in 2002 and after years of delays and it is not appropriate to now vary the approval.
Half of the members the Smeaton wind farm community reference group, in central Victoria, have resigned.
The six Landscape Guardians members believe their questions were not being answered by the developer, Wind Power.
Richard Evans says the former committee members are disillusioned because a significant landscape overlay across the proposed area does not appear to be deterring the developers.
"This area has got numerous amount of hills of national significance - they're all covered by significant landscape overlays and I think a lot of people in the area are wondering why we even have to put up with this when the overlays prevent dominant and obtrusive development on it, and we just can't understand why they haven't abided by the local planning laws," he said.
Another company is scouting wind farm sites in Otago, but will not say whether any of the locations it has looked at appear promising.
New Zealand Windfarms chief executive Chris Freear was in Dunedin on Tuesday after looking at potential wind farm sites in the area.
Mr Freear declined to provide further details on any of the sites, citing commercial sensitivity, and emphasised his company was scouting locations throughout the country.
“New Zealand’s got a lot of windy hills,” he said.