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Wind farm consent runs out of breeze

An application from Meridian Energy to develop a wind farm in northern Wairarapa is currently paused by four authorities while further information is provided.

If approved, 20 turbines comprising a wind farm will be built eight kilometres south of Eketāhuna in the Mt Munro site, generating up to 300-gigawatt hours of energy per year.

An initial application for the Mt Munro wind farm was lodged in 2011, then withdrawn in 2013 with Meridian citing a lack of demand for electricity.

Now, the application lies lodged with Masterton District Council, Tararua District Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Horizons Regional Council.

A spokesperson from Masterton Council said the four councils have collectively sought further information under s92 of the Resource Management Act [RMA] regarding a range of environmental topics and infrastructure details.

Both Horizons Regional Council and Greater Wellington confirmed this.

Group Manager Environment for Greater Wellington Lian Butcher said the information requested includes matters which fall under the four councils listed and engagement with mana whenua.

Meridian Energy Head of Renewable Development, Rebecca Knott said this was part of the normal consent process.

“Most of the questions are seeking clarification or further information, which we are happy to provide,” Knott said.

“We don’t expect any major changes to be made to our proposal from this process compared to that previously shared with the community during the open days.”

The proposed development has caused reported concern for some who live close by, with one resident voicing concern about construction noise and windmill disturbances after the project was completed.

Another consent for Genesis Energy’s Castle Hill wind farm is also on hold and sitting with councils pending further information.

The original consent was initially granted in 2013 and was due to lapse in late June this year.

However, a spokesperson from Masterton Council spokesperson confirmed that Genesis had sought an extension of time.

“Genesis has also applied for a variation under s127 of the RMA to reduce the scope of the work on the wind farm,” they said.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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