Submissions called for on renewable energy projects

Wednesday, 13 February, 2008


Environment Minister Trevor Mallard will notify two renewable energy development proposals that he has called in, and encourages anyone with an interest in them to make a submission.

Unison Networks Limited has proposed a 34-turbine wind farm near the Te Waka Range in Hawke’s Bay, and Contact Energy Limited wants to develop a geothermal power station in an area known as Te Mihi, near Taupo.

Late last year, Mallard announced his intention to call in both proposed schemes using his powers under section 141A of the Resource Management Act due to their national significance.

“I consider these proposals to be of national significance because they are relevant to New Zealand’s international obligations to the global environment, in terms of the Kyoto Protocol. If approved the proposed projects will contribute to the New Zealand Energy Strategy target of having 90% of our electricity generation as renewable energy by 2025,” Mallard said.

“Also, in the case of the Te Mihi geothermal project, geothermal systems are a natural resource that is limited to a relatively small area of New Zealand and the proposal involves a significant use of this limited resource.”

Mallard formally called the proposals in, in late January, and people have four weeks to make submissions. The public notification advertisements will appear in newspapers tomorrow.

“The submission process gives people the opportunity to express their views about these projects. Anyone can make a submission, whether you are in favour or opposed to these proposals,” Mallard said.

As part of the call-in process, Mallard has directed that an independent Board of Inquiry consider the Te Mihi applications, and he has referred the Unison Te Waka proposal to the Environment Court. The board of inquiry and the court make the final decisions on each project.

Submissions on both proposals must be received by 7 March 2008. Submission forms can be obtained from local councils in Hawke’s Bay and Taupo, and from the Ministry for the Environment website http://www.mfe.govt.nz/rma/call-in-temihi/ or http://www.mfe.govt.nz/rma/call-in-tewaka/.

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