Following four years of researching and monitoring the wind, a group of residents in Paekākāriki have been looking into installing wind turbines. The plan is for three 900 kilowatt wind turbines to be built on land above the Transmission Gully route. The project is being led by Williams and Graham Coe.
The proposed wind turbines would be visible from Transmission Gully but pose no threat to the environment’s natural beauty. They would hardly be seen from the coastal side of Paekākāriki Hill. The turbines would also not be heard in the village.
According to Community Trust member Murray Williams, three wind turbines on Paekākāriki Hill could generate enough electricity to power 1152 households, with leftovers to sell. The whole project will cost about 5 million dollars. The community would have to decide how the project was going to be financed.
The wind turbines will be similar in size to the one on Brooklyn Hill in Wellington.
There are a number of benefits to using wind-generated power which should certainly outweigh the initial costs of the project. Wind is a renewable resource meaning once the wind turbines are up we will continually be able to use electricity sourced from them. The operational costs of wind power are generally very low.
The next step towards making this project come to life is to gain official permission to carry it out. This will cost $150,000.
A similar project in Blueskin Bay in Dunedin had a resource consent denied due to the majority of residents being against the movement. Residential support is critical and the future of this project lies largely in the hands of the community.
“If you were going to go out and raise money, you want to be very very sure that people in the village want it. If they don’t, we just leave it.”
If the project goes through, residents of Paekākāriki will soon reap the benefits.