Article

Appeal takes wind out of Unison sails

Unison, with Tasmanian-based firm Roaring 40s, was given resource consent by the Hastings District Council's hearings committee for 16 turbines in August last year - a decision which was almost immediately appealed by Hawke's Bay historian Patrick Parsons' Outstanding Natural Landscapes Protection Society.

Hawke's Bay-based power-lines company Unison is frustrated that it can't get its $280 million second-stage wind farm on the Titiokura Summit fast-tracked as a project of national importance.

Unison, with Tasmanian-based firm Roaring 40s, was given resource consent by the Hastings District Council's hearings committee for 16 turbines in August last year - a decision which was almost immediately appealed by Hawke's Bay historian Patrick Parsons' Outstanding Natural Landscapes Protection Society.

Because of the appeal, Unison will now have to wait until an Environment Court hearing on May 23 to see whether it can proceed.

Unison already has permission for 16 wind turbines on the Te Waka Range.

The second stage of the development, which was publicly notified last weekend, is for 37 turbines on the western side of SH5. When combined with the first stage, if both get consent, they will generate 159 megawatts of electricity - enough to meet the national rise in demand for a year.

Unison CEO Ken Sutherland says the council should be allowed to fast-track large-scale projects which are of national importance.

"The whole... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
Hawke's Bay-based power-lines company Unison is frustrated that it can't get its $280 million second-stage wind farm on the Titiokura Summit fast-tracked as a project of national importance.

Unison, with Tasmanian-based firm Roaring 40s, was given resource consent by the Hastings District Council's hearings committee for 16 turbines in August last year - a decision which was almost immediately appealed by Hawke's Bay historian Patrick Parsons' Outstanding Natural Landscapes Protection Society.

Because of the appeal, Unison will now have to wait until an Environment Court hearing on May 23 to see whether it can proceed.

Unison already has permission for 16 wind turbines on the Te Waka Range.

The second stage of the development, which was publicly notified last weekend, is for 37 turbines on the western side of SH5. When combined with the first stage, if both get consent, they will generate 159 megawatts of electricity - enough to meet the national rise in demand for a year.

Unison CEO Ken Sutherland says the council should be allowed to fast-track large-scale projects which are of national importance.

"The whole resource-management process is really cumbersome, slow and fraught with delays," Mr Sutherland told Hawke's Bay Today.

" We are wanting to get on with a scheme that we know is in the national interest.

"We provided information (for stage 2) to the council in November, it was publicly notified in January and it will go to a hearing in late April.

"The council has got a very large workload on, and is trying to be helpful, but it's difficult that a project of this size does not have a higher priority." Mr Sutherland, who is concerned fluctuations in the dollar could push the project's $280 million project's price tag up, said Unison was not being given any more urgent treatment than $300,000 projects in the district. Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said Mr Sutherland had written to the council asking for special treatment, but had been declined. "We deal with applications as they come to us. It's not just the hearing time but all the staff time that's involved," he said. Mr Parsons said the council had a due process to follow: "With the wad of material that's in their application, it will take both the hearings committee and the public time to get through it." The company says the wind farm will help in light of the rising costs of producing electricity, which has climbed from between 4.5 and 6 cents a unit, to 11.7 cents. Unison's general commercial manager, Jon Nichols, said New Zealand needed more power generation since, in the short term, hydro levels were lower than average and, in the long term, the Maui gas field was depleting. Unison hopes to get consent for the entire project in time for a November start, with completion due about a year later.

Source: http://www.hbtoday.co.nz/lo...

FEB 2 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1154-appeal-takes-wind-out-of-unison-sails
back to top