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Orion New Zealand Ltd CEO Roger Sutton has expressed disappointment that MainPower’s application to build a wind farm on Mt Cass in North Canterbury has been rejected.
“Energy demand continues to grow in the upper South Island, and a wind farm on Mt Cass would have had a positive impact on reliability of supply into this region – in terms of additional generation capacity as well as transmission security,” Mr Sutton says.
“We’re increasingly reliant on power from North Island thermal generators, particularly during higher winter demand periods, and further renewable energy supplies are needed in the upper South Island to ensure we can meet the growth in demand,” he adds.
“The decision to decline the Mt Cass application is a frustrating setback for MainPower and the South Island electricity industry as a whole.”
MainPower’s application to build the Mt Cass wind farm was declined earlier this week by independent commissioners appointed by the Hurunui District Council.
Mr Sutton says that Orion is watching the consenting process relating to Meridian Energy’s proposed Mokihinui hydro dam power station with interest, as this station could provide further security of supply and support future wind generation in the upper South Island.
The Mokihinui hydro station is proposed to be built in the Mokihinui Gorge, 40km north of Westport in the Buller region. It would produce between 310 and 260 gigawatt hours per year of renewable electricity generation.