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General, Generation Technologies - Already in NZ, New Zealand Energy System

#6 Shortsightedness Wins the Day as Project Hayes Wind Consent Application is Withdrawn

19 Jan 2011 – Meridian announced today they have given up trying to obtain consent for one of New Zealand’s biggest wind farm projects for the time being. The 176-turbine, 633 megawatt Project Hayes bid sparked intense opposition which included inordinate media coverage of high profile ex All Black Anton Oliver and other so called “environmentalists”.  Meridian added that they have other development projects they would rather pursue ahead of Hayes.

Project Hayes was the second biggest wind project on the consent application table and the biggest project by a developer with recent experience.  According to the Wind Association of New Zealand [ref] the nine biggest wind projects (and all projects over 100MW) currently being considered are:

Project  Developer Size (MW) Location  Consent Status Notification Date
Castle Hill Genesis Energy 858MW Wairarapa Lodged Aug-11
Project Hayes Meridian 630MW Central Otago Withdrawn Today Nov-06
Hauauru ma raki Contact Energy 504MW Waikato Consented Sep-08
Kaiwera Downs TrustPower 240MW Gore Consented Nov-07
Hawkes Bay Meridian Energy 225MW Hastings Consented May-05
Turitea Mighty River Power 180MW Manawatu Consented Jan-09
Puketoi Mighty River Power 159MW Wairarapa Lodged Sep-11
Waitahora Contact Energy 156MW Southern Hawkes Bay Consented Sep-08
Project Central Wind Meridian 130MW Ruapehu and Rangitikei Consented Jul-08

FreeNRG4NZ is about Energy Independence for New Zealand based on the known fact that worldwide oil production has peaked, plateaued, or worse.  We believe that global crude oil prices are going to be heading north of $300/BBL by 2020 and as a country we had better be doing something about this urgently.  In addition, we know that New Zealand gas supplies are limited and the current Plan B for importing LNG in large tankers from Australia when the Taranaki gas has all been extracted, just so we can use it to make electricity at 35% thermal efficiency is crazy.

NZ can potentially be an energy rich nation that does not have to rely on crude oil or LNG imports, but we just have to get on with the task of installing proven renewables that can compliment our existing hydro assets.  We can not rely on geothermal as this renewable will soon hit its national development limits after the Ngatamariki and Wairakei projects as there are few remaining viable high temp geothermal fields after these.   All the good Hydro sites are in use although there are a few more locations with potential that could be developed one day.  For now the obvious way forward is for wind projects such as Hayes to get built.  Nuclear, coal and more gas are simply not options for New Zealand.

FreeNRG4NZ understands that Wind Projects have slight visual and noise impacts but we believe that an honest appraisal of the global energy situation at hand would lead any sane person to concluded that these subjective impacts are insignificant compared to the quite real doomsday type energy scenarios that are looming.  We also know that wind projects may have a small (but probably overstated) influence on bird life but we believe that more can be done in other ways to restore New Zealand avian fauna to its former glory in the form of pest eradication and ecological islands.

Project Hayes would have been a wonderful contributor to an Energy Independant New Zealand.  If New Zealand is ever to achive 100% renewable elctricty generation we need schemes like these to go ahead.  What a shame Meridian, please don’t give up, there is more at stake here than what Anton Oliver thinks of the scenery in this remote part of New Zealand.

To read more about what FreeNRG4NZ stands for and the way we think New Zealand should heading in terms of an Energy Strategy please see the section About Us.  Like us on Facebook and start spreading the word.

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Contributions sought for this blog > If you have ideas on how New Zealand can move towards 100% renewable electricity as the first step and then onward towards full energy independence - contact us. Lets all work together to get the conversation moving more.

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