Thursday, December 02, 2010


Contact Energy's planned Waitahora wind farm has been granted resource consent by the Environment Court. The project was rejected by the Tararua District Council in April last year on very dubious grounds; not surprisingly, the Court has overturned that rejection and allowed it to proceed with appropriate conditions to mitigate its low environmental impacts.

Contact had to reduce the number of turbines, and the modified size of the wind farm seems to be 160 - 170 MW. Coincidentally, that's about the amount of new generation we have to build every year to meet expected demand growth. Since 2000 or so, we've met that growth entirely through renewables; the fossil fuel plants that have been or are being built are backup generation or peaking plants, not intended for everyday use. While both Contact and Genesis have resource consents for more gas generation around Auckland, neither seems likely to be built in the near future. And hopefully they never will be. The planet simply cannot afford the environmental burden of fossil fuel generation, and we have much cleaner alternatives available.