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Winds Blow TrustPower's Way in Australia


Winds Blow TrustPower's Way in Australia

Australian wind could soon be generating income for New Zealand electricity generator and retailer TrustPower.

The South Australian Government yesterday announced the granting of planning approval for TrustPower's proposed 20 turbine windfarm at Myponga, extending along the Sellicks Range near Adelaide.

The windfarm, with a maximum output of 35 MW, will generate power for up to 17,000 average homes. It will also displace up to 112,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, which would otherwise be produced by fossil fuel generation.

TrustPower's Chief Executive, Keith Tempest, says the project has been under development for more than two years. The planning application was "called in" and the project declared a "Major Development" by the South Australian Government in August 2002, because it was the first time consent had been sought for a windfarm installation close to Adelaide. In doing so, the South Australian Government wanted to ensure that there was plenty of opportunity for community participation and a thorough assessment of any possible environmental impacts of the development.

"The granting of this planning approval is testimony to the way in which TrustPower approaches projects such as this, and to the expertise of our employees. Rather than trying to force the issue, we take the approach of working alongside communities, to ensure people are well informed and consulted, and to bring the people along with us. The end result in this case is a big tick for a project that will benefit TrustPower, the people of the region, and the environment."

Mr Tempest says the next step will be the TrustPower Board's consideration of the project early in 2004.

Other wind projects in South Australia are also being investigated. TrustPower already owns and operates the largest windfarm in Australasia, on the Tararua Ranges near Palmerston North. The Tararua windfarm is currently undergoing expansion from 32MW to 68 MW, with the first of the new units expected to deliver power next month, and the entire expansion planned for completion in May next year.

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