Blueskin Energy Ltd will not appeal turbine consent
2 October 2017
Press Release: Blueskin Energy Ltd will not appeal court decision refusing consent to build New Zealand’s first community-led wind turbine
Blueskin Energy Ltd (BEL), a social enterprise established by the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust to develop New Zealand’s first community-led wind turbine, has announced today it will not appeal the Environment Court’s ruling to decline its resource consent to build a single turbine in Dunedin.
The turbine would have been New Zealand’s first community-led turbine, providing community sourced renewable energy and annual profits to the communities of Blueskin Bay in the northern boundaries of Dunedin city.
BEL Director, Tony Wilson, is saddened at the Environment Court’s decision. He said “Many people have been working on this for many years, providing enormous volunteer and pro bono time, generous donations and financial and professional assistance.”
“Together we were seeking to provide a positive community contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building our local resilience in the face of climate change and sea level rise” says Wilson.
BEL Project Manager Scott Willis said “We are still considering the findings and implications of the court decision but believe it has significant adverse implications for all efforts in New Zealand to democratise our energy system.”
BEL and the Trust are perplexed by the Environment Court’s decision, including the conclusion that “wind resource at this site is sub-optimal and there would appear to be other suitable alternative sites”.
Porteous Hill, the site of the proposed turbine, is a farmed utilitarian rural landscape, rising to 401m with a quarry on one side and state highway 1 on the other, is probably the most tested site in the country for wind. While the Trust did consider many other sites, experts have consistently confirmed Porteous Hill is the best community site for wind. The single 3MW turbine would have generated more than 7GWh annually.
Trust chair, Craig Marshall, urges central and local governments to look closely at current law and policy and to create opportunities to establish a more diversified and sustainable system of electricity generation in New Zealand. This case has been a stark demonstration of the lack of strength in national and local policy and planning. If stronger direction is not urgently provided, New Zealand will fall well short of its renewable electricity targets.
BEL and the Trust believe that the rejection of this consent application is a missed opportunity for the Blueskin community.
BEL and the Trust remain committed to finding solutions for sourcing local energy in the Blueskin Bay community and will continue to work with the community to realise the vision for a community turbine.