Hot air and cold air both blow over South Island wind farm


The battle lines have been drawn on a wind farm project that has “polarised” Blueskin Bay.

The depth of feeling about the project was highlighted by the packed public gallery at yesterday’s resource consent hearing for Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust’s (BRCT) $5million to $6million proposal to build three wind turbines on Porteous Hill, north of Dunedin.

The hearing began with a blow to the BRCT as council planner Darryl Sycamore no longer recommended consent be approved.

He said he was reserving his position until the end of the hearing, given the trust had made changes to the proposal.

The changes included reducing the maximum height of the wind turbines to 90m from the original 125m.

Worries about birds striking turbines, noise and health were among the issues brought up yesterday, but a key concern was around the impact on the area’s landscape.

The trust and its supporters said any negative effects would be more than made up for by the benefits, including reducing New Zealand’s reliance on carbon-producing power plants.

The wide gap in views was clear yesterday, with resident Denis Albert saying the wind farm equated to a “vandalisation of the landscape of Blueskin Bay”.

In contrast, trust landscape experts Di Lucas and Mike Moore said the wind farm was complementary, and added, to the landscape.

Ms Lucas said she had been involved in a lot of wind farms and was “heartened” by how appropriate the proposal was for the surrounding landscape.

Mr Moore agreed, but accepted that whether an individual appreciated the turbines was subjective. “You either like it or you don’t, I guess.”

Both sides of the debate claimed to have support from the majority of the Blueskin Bay community. This comes after there were 73 submissions in support of the project, 68 opposed and five neutral.

Some questions

  • How long does it take to break even on a $2m per turbine investment, assuming no maintenance, breakages or excessive downtime?
  • How does anyone become a “landscape expert”?




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  • geoff3012

    This is Mataura tuatara,s home turf…

    • Dumrse

      That’s done it…..the Taniwha’s from the Waikato is probably starting it’s hikoi as I type.

  • Peter

    Big problems for US wind farms as large declines in bird populations have been recorded in these areas due to the propellors chopping them to bits…

  • BigDogTalking

    There accounts are available on the charities commission web site and a quick look shows a balance sheet with around $30k in cash (better than I expected to be fair) Where does such an organisation get $5M from to build the ugly eyesore?

  • EpochNZ

    So I love the idea of getting rid of our reliance on fossil fuels, but I dont want a wind turbine that can achieve that anywhere where I can see it…I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning…

  • Quinton Hogg

    Waitati/Warrington is the home of the material girl and other green lunatics.
    Apart from the proximity to the sea it really has no redeeming features or at least it didn’t when I lived in Dunedin.
    as far as i am concerned they can build the things especially if has the effect of upsetting the loonies.

    • Time For Accountability

      Yep at Waitati, to the left and down from where photo was taken.

      Evansdale was my home town from a 1yr to 12yrs.
      Then high school years at Waitati end of Port Chalmers Rd.

      Pristine views, used to sled down Porteous hill in snow. Idyllic spot and cannot see logic of wind turbines at all. It will most likely be about an income source for the land owners rather than the benefit to the wider good.

      There are spots slightly inland on the Kilmog that would get better wind sources and out of sight, closer to national Grid lines if the want to go for the best economic return (If there is such a thing.)

    • TraceyS

      No redeeming features? You have clearly never experienced a Blueskin Bay sunrise on a stunningly clear Dunedin morning. The hundreds of freedom campers per night at Warrington beach over the summer know what you don’t…

      • Quinton Hogg

        I grew up in Dunedin. Stunningly clear mornings? oxymoron.

        • TraceyS

          The wider definition of Dunedin was what I meant. Seriously, did you grow up in Dunedin and never experience a Blueskin Bay sunrise? Not even on an early morning flight flying north?

  • InnerCityDweller

    How can anyone claim with a straight face that three (3) wind turbines will reduce New Zealand’s reliance on carbon-producing power plants?

    EDIT: Even if it is technically correct and possible to measure (maybe), but really?

  • Quinton Hogg

    Oh, and Di Lucas has been doing this landscape stuff for donkeys years and comes from a high country background. I think it is a QBE kind of thing.

  • Anthony

    About 5% of NZ electricity is generated by wind power annually (690MW installed). The three proposed Porteous Hill turbines would only be 800-900kW each, so in total would generate 0.018% of NZ’s annual electricity needs. This is small.
    They would cost NZ$5-6M, or about $2M/MW. However, on average NZ wind turbines only generate 35% of their installed power, as the wind doesn’t blow strong enough all the time. So cost becomes $5.7M/MW generated.
    I believe the geothermal plants run pretty much all the time, so they’re probably a cheaper source of power, and they don’t mince birds.
    Mighty River’s Ngatamariki generates 82MW and cost $475M = $5.79M/MW.
    Contact’s Ti Mihi Geothermal plant generates 166MW and cost $623M = $3.75M/MW.
    Contact has another geothermal plant already consented (Tauhara stage 2), 250MW for a cost of $1B = $4/MW, to be built once there is more demand.

  • one for the road

    Re the bird problem, just put a bird boom box or siren (as they have at runways, etc) around the wind farms, problem solved! Keep the volume at similar or just higher than the noise the turbine blades already make as they rotate.

    Re landscaping problem, the plants, trees and grass arent worried, it is only the the luvvy locals that are upset… Once we get rows of them on multiple hills (like they have in Europe and Us) then they can actually form a nice artform and be very pleasing to the eye – really, some people are never happy!

    • OneTrack

      Won’t people already be unhappy about the noise the wind turbines make without adding even more noise?

      • one for the road

        Of course they will, but cannt have it all – cheaper power, green renewable energy, saving birds, etc. so what they should do is build 30 instead of 3 and then play natural sounds from speakers that counter acts the noise from the turbine blades (just like the tech they use for noise cancelling headphones)! Problem solved

  • Left Right Out

    I find it quite amusing that most of these “wind farms” get proposed for area’s where eco warriors tend to dwell…… and as soon as they do get proposed there is always an outpouring of….. NO no no not in my backyard…

  • Rick H

    1 more question should be there

    3. – how many dollars of tax-payers already taxed income would be needed to subsidise each turbine, to actually make it cost-effective compared to a Hydro dam?

  • Orange

    How many royal albatross do they want to get rid of again?

  • DLNZ

    I wonder if they’re still working with the same wind farm company that Jeanette Fitzsimons still has shares in? Oh and she’s the patron of the trust too…