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Wellington investigates wind-energy generation

Greater Wellington investigates wind-energy generation

Greater Wellington Regional Council heard yesterday that of the three sites on council lands investigated for wind-energy generation in the past year, Mt Climie, high on the Rimutaka Range to the east of Upper Hutt, currently showed the most potential. “New Zealand’s need for electricity continues to grow and renewable wind generation can provide a significant part of this need. Greater Wellington can choose to make some of the land we manage available for wind generation,” says Greater Wellington chairperson Margaret Shields.

Greater Wellington renewable energy project manager Murray Kennedy says, “Our tests have shown that wind turbines on Mt Climie could produce 300 gigawatt hours of electricity a year. This could power 35,000 homes, or one third of those in the Wellington metropolitan area.”

A total of 63 turbines could be placed on Mt Climie, however, there are also landscape and visual issues to be addressed. Greater Wellington will do an ecological evaluation of this area.

The other sites being considered are Puketiro, to the east of Battle Hill Farm Forest Park, and Belmont Regional Park. There’s not enough data about the wind resource at the Puketiro site but the Belmont site looks promising.

“All the sites have the potential to achieve the minimum wind speed of about 10m/s for a wind farm to be economic at current electricity prices,” Mr Kennedy says.

The technical studies will be completed in a year.

Cr Shields says, “It’s very encouraging to have the evidence that there could be wind-generated electricity on our land. Before making any decision we will weigh that up against other factors such as ecological and landscape impacts.”

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