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Mt Munro wind farm consent lodged

Meridian Energy has now lodged a consent application with local councils for its latest wind farm development in north Wairarapa.

The Mt Munro wind farm is set to be built eight kilometres south of Eketahuna and will comprise 20 turbines that generate up to 300 gigawatt hours of energy a year – enough to power about 42,000 homes.

Rebecca Knott – Meridian’s head of renewable development – confirmed that Masterton District Council, Tararua District Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and Horizons Regional Council are now “reviewing the application for completeness”.

“We may request that the matter be directly referred to the Environment Court, but we haven’t applied to the councils to do that at this stage.”

A Meridian spokesperson clarified that one of the reasons to ask for a direct referral is for efficiency.

“It means it’s not a long and drawn-out process for everyone involved. The Environment Court encourages public participation from all parties wanting to be heard,” they said.

Knott said Meridian acknowledges that people hold different opinions on the project: “We encourage everyone to take part in the submission process once the details are confirmed by the consenting authorities.”

She said the energy company has not made any changes to the proposal that it has previously shared with the local community at open days.

Meridian first made an application to build the Mt Munro Wind Farm in 2011 and then withdrew in 2013 “due to the lack of demand for electricity”.

Knott said the total area of the wind farm site will be about 900 ha, with access to the site for construction and operation through Old Coach Rd.

Old Coach Rd North resident Mike Clark – whose home is below the proposed site of some of the turbines on the lower hills – previously told the Times-Age it would be “stone-cold murder” to have trucks travelling up and down the road from “six in the morning in the summertime until eight at night, six or seven days a week”.

Clark was part of a group of people who opposed the project when it was first proposed.

Knott repeated the sentiment that investment in renewable energy assets is critical to achieving Aotearoa’s climate change, social, and economic goals.

“Wind farms like this one have an essential role to play in ensuring that we are able to decarbonise and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.”

The Mt Munro turbines are set to have a blade diameter of up to 136m and a maximum height above ground level of up to 160m, and an approximate capacity of 4.5 MW each.

Knott said up to 14 turbines will be evenly spaced along the site’s main ridgeline, with two further groups – each comprising up to three turbines – on lower hills to the northwest of the main ridge.

She said Mt Munro will be the seventh wind farm Meridian has built in Aotearoa.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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