Waitahora wind farm
New Zealand's demand for energy is growing strongly at about two per cent per annum. The country needs new electricity generation and, with concern growing about the effects of climate change, that electricity increasingly needs to come from renewable sources.
Contact Energy is committed to developing renewable generation projects. Contact's Waitahora wind farm is one of the company's two proposed wind farm developments - the other is Hauauru ma raki in the Waikato.
The Waitahora project will be located in the Puketoi Range, near Dannevirke in Southern Hawke's Bay.
The wind resource on the Puketoi Range is world-class and the relatively remote site is ideal for a wind farm in many respects. With up to 58 individual wind turbines now consented, the wind farm will generate enough clean, renewable electricity to power up to 70,000 average homes.
Contact originally applied for consents for the Waitahora wind farm in August 2008. Following a Commissioners decision declining the application, Contact significantly refined the project to further reduce environmental effects and address many of the concerns raised by the local residents. For example, there will be significantly less traffic on some roads and the visual and amenity effects have been reduced by removing several turbines.
The project was heard by the Environment Court in October 2010 and in November 2010 it overturned the original decision and granted all the consents and turbine locations sought by Contact Energy.