Meridian Energy has announced that the Project Hayes wind farm development has received resource consent from the Central Otago district council. The project is located to the south of Ranfurly on the Lammermoor Range, about 70km northwest of Dunedin.

The company has also expressed concerns about how management issues surrounding New Zealand’s HVDC link would affect the progress of the project.

The consent decision allows for the full proposal of 176 turbines generating up to 630MW, enough to power the equivalent of all of the homes in the Otago region, as well as the cities of Dunedin and Christchurch.

Keith Turner, CEO of Meridian Energy, said that getting the approval was great news for renewable energy projects in New Zealand and would be a big boost to the government’s renewable energy goals.

Mr Turner said: This project has the potential to be a world class wind farm. It also has the potential to address the sudden security of supply problem facing the South Island, which was created when Transpower unexpectedly closed down one half of the Cook Strait transmission link recently.

The government’s New Zealand Energy Strategy clearly identified the importance of a reliable national grid if it is to achieve the target of 90% renewables by 2025.