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Go ahead to use Puketiro for wind farming

Go ahead to use Puketiro for wind farming

Greater Wellington Regional Council today agreed in principal to offer the use of Council owned land at Puketiro for wind energy development. "This really is a big win for the region," said Councillor Chris Laidlaw.

"A wind farm on this land will potentially generate enough power for 13,000 homes, it will do so with minimal impact on surrounding communities, it is renewable energy and Greater Wellington will earn some income from the lease.

Councillor Laidlaw said the decision was a very positive step toward Greater Wellington's goal of raising the energy self-sufficiency of the region. "As Chairman of the Landcare Committee I've been aware of the potential of our lands to deliver a double environmental benefit to the region by contributing to wind energy generation while maintaining other environmental values such as biodiversity and water quality. I am very pleased to say that the overwhelming majority who submitted on our proposal agreed with this view."

Almost 1300 submissions were made to Greater Wellington's wind energy subcommittee on the proposal to offer the land at Puketiro for wind farm development. Well over 90% were firmly in favour of the wind farm development going ahead, with the most common concern being the impact that wind turbines have on the landscape.

"The Council was impressed by quality of the submissions and has taken note of many of the issues raised by the public. Although we are confident the effects of a wind farm on this site will be minimal - and far outweighed by its benefits - Greater Wellington will be imposing strict conditions on any prospective developers and of course any formal proposal will have to satisfy the terms of the Resource Management Act

Chris Laidlaw said that Greater Wellington would not, itself, invest in the actual development of a wind farm. "Our involvement is limited to making the land available to potential developers, who will then have to bear the financial risk of the development.

Our intention is to offer a 50 year lease of the land, which would be the equivalent of two lifecycles for a wind farm. Eventually, the turbines will probably be removed and the land restored to its original state. That is the great advantage of wind energy." "We have asked Council officers to begin the process of finding a developer for the site. This will take some time to do, but I am confident that in the current climate we will find a suitable developer."


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