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The New Zealand Environment Court has refused to approve a $2 billion government-owned wind project (176 turbines) in the “outstanding natural landscape of the Lammermoor”, a wild area in Central Otago surrounded by parks and nature reserves. According to the Court, “the nationally important positive factors of enabling economic and social welfare by providing a very large quantity of renewable energy are outweighed by the most important adverse consequences… [This] landscape is one of the very few places in New Zealand where citizens can experience a wide, high peneplain under a big sky.. in a highly natural and near endemic environment that also contains a heritage trail... It would be preferable for current wellbeing and for future generations… if other sites were to be investigated more fully first.” Another approved wind farm is less than 17 km away, and apparently has room to expand. Health concerns were not a ground for refusing to approve the project.

The applicant, Meridian Energy, will appeal.

Meanwhile, the Star reports on a new study on wind farms, that also concludes wind projects produce no adverse health effects. Also, a $1 billion wind farm was approved this week in Kern County, California. The Alta-Oak Creek Mojave project will include up to 320 turbines in the mountains between Tehachapi and Mojave and could generate up to 800 megawatts of power. The  project was reduced by three turbines in response to neighbourhood concerns about noise and safety, as well as aesthetic impact.

Here’s a link to the report/recommendations that the supervisors considered on Dec 15:
“…    Request from Alta Windpower Development, LLC, to modify the permitted uses from agriculture, heavy industrial, and residential to include wind energy, in addition to delineating areas subject to flooding, and to permit two temporary concrete batch plants to facilitate construction of a 9,120-acre wind park located at the southeastern boundary three miles west of State Route 14 with northwestern boundary three miles south of State Route 58, Oak Creek area of eastern Kern County…”

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