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Consultation On Possible Puketiro Wind Farm

News release
2 May 2005

Community consultation on possible
Puketiro wind farm development

Greater Wellington will begin a community consultation process next month on a possible wind farm development at Puketiro, an area to the east of Battle Hill Forest Park. The consultation process follows completion of two feasibility studies of wind energy generation developments on land owned or managed by the Council.

Chair of Greater Wellington's Landcare Committee Cr Chris Laidlaw welcomes the next stage of the process. "We're committed to raising the energy self-sufficiency of this region. Most of the energy we currently use is derived from non-renewable sources and we simply cannot afford the luxury of that. We have extensive park and forest lands that can deliver a double benefit because wind energy generation can be achieved in harmony with the other environmental objectives in such areas at a distance from urban areas. The advantage of wind energy is that it imposes a minimum footprint on the land."

"Undoubtedly, wind energy developments on Greater Wellington land can make a very useful difference for this region and we now want to hear what the community thinks."

Over the past two years Greater Wellington has carried out feasibility studies of wind generation developments on three sites owned or managed by the Council - Puketiro, Mt Climie and Belmont Regional Park. The first two studies have been completed, and analysis of the larger Belmont site is still underway.

Cr Laidlaw says that "Although the Mt Climie ridge has outstanding wind energy potential, there are evident risks to parts of the local ecology and for that reason we are erring on the side of caution and will be not be proceeding any further with this site at this stage. Instead, we have identified Puketiro as the ideal place to start. Public consultation will begin in June based on the results of the Puketiro feasibility study." Greater Wellington's renewable energy project manager Murray Kennedy says that "a wind farm development at Puketiro could provide the region with up to 26MW of energy, enough to power about 13,000 homes. Average wind speed at the site is similar to several other operating wind farms in the country."

"The impact of building a wind farm at Puketiro is relatively low. The nearest urban area is Whitby in Porirua City, six kilometres from the proposed site."

The public consultation process will begin late June. Details will be sent to every household in the region to enable everyone to have their say.

Further information and maps are online at www.gw.govt.nz.

ENDS


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