New Zealand plans 600 MW wind power plant

Chief executive Albert Brantley announced the expansion of previous proposals for Castle Hill wind energy project from 400 MW to 600 MW, representing a further substantial increase in installed or planned wind farm construction along the ranges separating the Kapiti-Horowhenua and Wairarapa regions, and into southern Hawke’s Bay.

The expansion also puts the development in the same league as Meridian’s troubled 630 MW Project Hayes proposal in Central Otago and Contact Energy’s proposed 540 MW Hauauru ma raki wind farm on the coast north of Raglan.

However, Castle Hill would likely be built in stages, says Brantley, noting that Genesis has plans only for 300 MW of new wind turbines capacity at unspecified sites by 2015.

Castle Hill is north-east of Masterton and east of Eketahuna. Genesis has signed land use agreements with 27 owners of 30,000 hectares, with around 4,000 ha suitable for wind farm development.

The site lies across four regional government boundaries and will require consents from Horizons and Greater Wellington Regional Councils, and the Tararua and Masterton District Council.

A resource consent application is expected to be lodged before mid 2011, following local community consultation.