Friday, November 06, 2009

Project Hayes declined

The Environment Court has upheld an appeal against Meridian Energy's proposed Project Hayes, and declined its resource consent in order to project the nationally significant landscape of Central Otago.

I'm not really unhappy with this. While I support wind power, and Hayes would have made a real difference to renewable generation in New Zealand, it was a marginal call and would have destroyed some very significant and iconic landscapes. There are plenty of other places in New Zealand to build wind farms, and hopefully Meridian will now focus its attention on them. Meanwhile, we've also got some useful guidance on landscape values versus renewable energy - which is likely to be important given the growing number of conflicts between the two.

Unfortunately, I doubt the government will see it like that; instead they'll just use it in the same way they use every other project refusal: as evidence that the RMA "isn't working" and needs to be gutted to reduce it to a rubber-stamp for development.