Contact Energy has consent for a large wind farm on the west coast of the Waikato.
The proposed wind farm is near the major demand centres of Hamilton and Auckland. It is located along 34 kilometres of coastline, from four kilometres south of Port Waikato to Te Akau, eight kilometres north of Raglan. It is a large wind farm by both New Zealand and international standards, with a capacity of up to 504 megawatts and an estimated annual generation equivalent to the annual electricity usage of 170,000 homes.
To put the scale of the proposed project in perspective, the largest operating wind farm is currently Tararua, at 161MW. The only operating power stations in New Zealand that are larger than the proposed Hauauru Ma Raki are Manapori (Hydro, 730MW), Huntly (Coal/Gas, 1000MW) and Benmore (Hydro, 540MW).
The consent application was "called in" by the Minister for the Environment. This means the application bypassed the consent hearing that is normally conducted by local authorities, and instead was considered by a Board of Inquiry.
Public submissions on the proposed wind farm closed on 3 November 2008.
The Board began its hearing in April 2009. The hearing was adjourned after three weeks at Contact's request, to allow Contact time to prepare more detailed evidence relating to the project.
Contact refined the wind farm design (especially relating to earthworks for the wind farm and transmission lines), and undertook further consultation, assessment of landscape effects and monitoring of shorebirds during the adjournment. The hearing reconvened in September 2010 and concluded in November 2010.
- Board of Inquiry's final decision
- Project information and consent application on Contact Energy's website
- Wind Farm Group
- Information about the call in and Board of Inquiry on the Ministry for the Environment's website