Harnessing the power of Wellington's legendary wind has been achieved with the city's first wind farm now generating renewal energy.
The launch of Project West Wind by Prime Minister John Key on 29 April is a significant milestone for renewable energy generator Meridian Energy and comes after a lengthy and complex project consenting process.
The $440 million Project West Wind wind farm is a 62 turbine farm on farm land in the Makara hills, west of Wellington. Twenty turbines have been constructed and the first 15 connected to the national power grid. When all turbines are working it will generate enough power for 70,000 homes or the whole of the Wellington region.
Bell Gully partner Andrew Beatson, a resource management specialist, has been working with Meridian Energy on the project since the consent process began in May 2005.
Consents were granted by the Wellington City and Greater Wellington Regional councils in December that year but their decisions were appealed.
Andrew Beatson acted for Meridian on the appeals in the Environment Court, achieving a successful decision allowing the project to proceed with a reduced number of turbines. Work began on the development in September 2007 with the first turbines installed in February this year.
"I'm thrilled for Meridian that this project is now a reality," says Andrew. "They have had to overcome a number of challenges along the way, both in the courts and during the construction itself, but the result is set to be of huge benefit to Wellington and New Zealand."