Although I emphasised the uncertainties of wind farms in the Waikato in my post a few weeks ago, it was dispiriting to read in the Waikato Times tonight that the massive wind farm Hauauru ma raki, proposed for the coastline south of Port Waikato, might never be built. The six-week Board of Enquiry hearing began this week. Contact Energy’s counsel explained that while the economics of the project looked unfavourable currently, Contact was seeking a ten-year lapse period for the project after consent was granted so that they have certainty that it can be built if and when it is needed. He emphasised that it was critically important to have consents that could be exercised when market conditions were favourable – meaning not just pricing but also such matters as security of electricity supply for the greater Auckland area if there are delays in upgrading the transmission grid.
It looks as if Contact is reluctant to spend as much effort on detailed engineering design for a farm which may not be built as the Board may require for a farm to which it is to give consent. The chairman said “There is huge tension between the flexibility you desire and the effects we need to consider.”
Hardly an auspicious beginning. We’ll keep watch on how things develop.
[GR adds: In related news, Mainpower has announced that it is to appeal the Mt Cass decision to the Emvironment Court. More, later.]