A resource consent is the legal authorisation given to allow an activity that would otherwise contravene a rule in a city or district plan. Community wind is not an activity that is allowed under the current District Plan, and so we need consent.
The Resource Consent process starts with an idea, goes through a formal process usually in a local hearing and when a decision is issued an appeal can be made to contest a decision or conditions imposed as part of a decision. If no agreement can be made through mediation the Resource Consent process can lead to the full Environment Court.
Our application was lodged on the 2nd of October 2015, went public on the 4th of November and submissions closed on the 2nd of December. The formal hearing took place in May 2016, and a decision was announced on the 12th of July. Within the decision the Commissioner noted that effects would be no more than minor in regard to: the wider landscape, the earthworks involved, the noise of the turbines, the ecological effects, the geotechnical effects, the shadow flicker and blade glint effects, the lighting effects, the effects on farming and was not contrary to any policies or plans. Commissioner Weatherall’s decision was, as he noted, “finely balanced”. However he declined consent primarily because of the visual impact of the northern most proposed turbine on 3 residential properties in Pryde Road. Blueskin Energy Ltd appealed the decision on the 2nd of August 2016.
We now propose to install a single 3MW turbine on Porteous Hill and our proposal is being assessed in the Environment Court.
Construction of New Zealand’s first community turbine producing around 7.2GWh of renewable energy annually will contribute to reducing carbon emissions and could avoid over 7,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year by offsetting electricity generated from a coal-fired plant. Donations to support our appeal can be made here.