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Consultation begins on possible Puketiro wind farm

Community consultation begins on possible Puketiro wind farm development

Greater Wellington begins a community consultation process this week on a possible wind farm development at Puketiro, an area to the east of Battle Hill Forest Park.


Chair of Greater Wellington’s Landcare Committee Cr Chris Laidlaw says. “At Greater Wellington 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.”

The consultation process follows completion of two feasibility studies of wind energy generation developments on land 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.”

Greater Wellington’s renewable energy project manager Murray Kennedy says that “a wind farm development at Puketiro could provide the region with at least 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.”

Public submissions close on 1 August 2005 and public hearings will be held in September or October.

Further detailed information, submission form and maps are online at www.gw.govt.nz or in the July issue of Elements.

ENDS


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