Once a developer has thoroughly investigated a potential wind farm site, they may apply for resource consent.
Not all projects with a consent will be built. Many consented projects are currently on hold as the developer waits for market conditions and demand for renewable electricity to increase to make the wind farm commercially viable.
As a wind farm consent ages, it may need to be varied to take advantage of advancements in wind turbine technology. For example, the consent build envelope may not provide for newer model turbines that are available and in this situation the consent holder would need to apply for a consent variation. A consent variation would involve an assessment of the scale of effects limited to the change requested.
The Association notes that the rapid improvement in wind turbine technology, including the increase in wind turbine rotor diameter, has seen an increase in turbine annual energy production by over 50% since 2010. We consider that for a number of existing consents the wind farm owner would achieve an improved commercial return from a successful consent variation.
In addition, some consented wind farms will require a further consent to build transmission infrastructure to enable development.
The following table lists projects that developers have wind farm consents for but have not begun construction.
Wind Project Name
Likely to be Consented
|Hiringa & Balance||Kapuni||24|
|Mercury||Kaiwera Downs (Phase 2)||185|
|Mercury||Mahinerangi (Phase 2)||164|