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Planner opposes turbines consent

Turbines higher than 50-storeyed buildings on the Lammermoor Range would dominate the landscape and the Central Otago District Council's planner has recommended the Project Hayes wind farm proposal be turned down. The planning consultant's report, released to the public yesterday, expresses concern about Meridian Energy's $2 billion proposal and the effects on the iconic landscape.

Turbines higher than 50-storeyed buildings on the Lammermoor Range would dominate the landscape and the Central Otago District Council's planner has recommended the Project Hayes wind farm proposal be turned down.

The planning consultant's report, released to the public yesterday, expresses concern about Meridian Energy's $2 billion proposal and the effects on the iconic landscape.

Planner David Whitney says in the report the wind turbines would be up to 160m high, taller than any used to date on any wind farm in New Zealand, ``and have therefore not been able to be the subject of an assessment . . . the turbines proposed in Project Hayes are also taller than those used in most wind farms overseas (on land)''.

The wind farm proposal, inland from Ranfurly near Paerau, would be the biggest in the world, with each of the 176 turbines exceeding the height of a 50-storey building.

``In our view, turbines close to the Old Dunstan Rd will dominate the landscape and will have a significant adverse affect,'' he says.

Old Dunstan Rd was the only one of the three main routes to the old goldfields of Central Otago that had remained unchanged and therefore had heritage value.

``We also note that the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Turbines higher than 50-storeyed buildings on the Lammermoor Range would dominate the landscape and the Central Otago District Council's planner has recommended the Project Hayes wind farm proposal be turned down.

The planning consultant's report, released to the public yesterday, expresses concern about Meridian Energy's $2 billion proposal and the effects on the iconic landscape.

Planner David Whitney says in the report the wind turbines would be up to 160m high, taller than any used to date on any wind farm in New Zealand, ``and have therefore not been able to be the subject of an assessment . . . the turbines proposed in Project Hayes are also taller than those used in most wind farms overseas (on land)''.

The wind farm proposal, inland from Ranfurly near Paerau, would be the biggest in the world, with each of the 176 turbines exceeding the height of a 50-storey building.

``In our view, turbines close to the Old Dunstan Rd will dominate the landscape and will have a significant adverse affect,'' he says.

Old Dunstan Rd was the only one of the three main routes to the old goldfields of Central Otago that had remained unchanged and therefore had heritage value.

``We also note that the positive effects associated with the proposal (in terms of national energy considerations), could be achieved at other locations . . .''

Mr Whitney was concerned there would not be sufficient capacity to support all the turbines, and no information had been provided to identify the route of a new transmission line between Roxburgh and Twizel.

Environment Minister David Benson-Pope said in his submission if the project was completed to its full potential ``transmission capacity may be constrained and investment in the lines would be required to allow the full output of the wind farm to be injected into the national grid''.

A total of 1045 submissions were received for the proposal, with an almost even split for and against (516 in support and 524 opposed).

Meridian expects it would take at least five years to build the wind farm, involving the construction of about 150km of access tracks and the installation of five substations onsite. Turbines would be transported from Dunedin wharf on trucks through Mosgiel, along State Highway 87 to Clarks Junction and then on to Old Dunstan Rd. Up to 150 people would be employed onsite during construction.

Meridian says in its application there are few, if any, alternative sites to match Project Hayes, in terms of wind speed, duration and scale, and new electricity generation is needed in the South Island due to further demands on infrastructure from growth industries.

Mr Whitney concludes in his report that as well as significant adverse affects on outstanding landscape, visual amenity, heritage and tourism values, the proposal is contrary to both the Central Otago District Council's and Dunedin City Council's district plans.

A joint consent authority panel of CODC members and an independent commissioner appointed by the CODC and the Otago Regional Council will hear the application and submitters in Alexandra, starting on April 30.

The hearing is expected to take at least three weeks.



Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuf...

APR 12 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/8258-planner-opposes-turbines-consent
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