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Puketiro wind farm hearings complete

News release
9 November 2005

Puketiro wind farm hearings complete

Almost 1300 submissions have been made to Greater Wellington's wind energy subcommittee on a possible wind farm development at Puketiro, an area to the east of Battle Hill Forest Park. Nearly thirty of those who made submissions were heard in public by Greater Wellington last week.

Chair of Greater Wellington’s Landcare Committee and wind energy subcommittee Cr Chris Laidlaw says, “it has been very interesting and instructive to hear in more detail what the community thinks about the proposal. From the 1300 submissions we received, well over 90% were firmly in favour of the wind farm development going ahead and the most common concern was the impact that wind turbines have on the landscape. Another concern, that somehow windfarms are going to start sprouting up all over the region is one that needs to be taken seriously because there is little public understanding of the fact that relatively few sites actually lend themselves to wind generation. This region isn't going to be overwhelmed by windfarming and we need to make the most of the sites that are actually suitable."

The wind energy subcommittee comprises Cr Chris Laidlaw (Chair), Cr Sally Baber, Cr Sandra Greig, Cr Margaret Shields, and Cr Chris Turver. The subcommittee will present a detailed report to Council on Thursday 15 December and a decision is expected shortly after that.

Cr Laidlaw says that Greater Wellington is committed to raising the energy self-sufficiency of the 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 and undoubtedly wind energy developments on Greater Wellington land can make a very useful difference for the region."

Greater Wellington’s renewable energy project manager Murray Kennedy says “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.”

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

ENDS

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