Meridian pulls plug on Central Otago wind farm
Updated at 7:55 am on 20 January 2012
Meridian Energy has withdrawn plans to build a $2 billion wind farm on the Lammermoor Range in Central Otago.
The state-owned energy company had fought for six years to build the 176-turbine Project Hayes wind farm.
The company initially won resource consent, but lost it following an appeal to the Environment Court.
Meridian chief executive Mark Binns told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Thursday a High Court reprieve in 2011 put the company in the position of having to revisit the Environment Court to hear the case all over again.
"That, coupled with the fact that we'd have to spend a significant amount more money and the fact that we already have some other alternatives that are more compelling, means it's the best decision for everybody that we shelve the project."
Mr Binns officially started work as chief executive this week, but says the decision to can Project Hayes was taken in December last year. Meridian Energy has spent $8.9 million on the project.
Otago artist and Project Hayes opponent Grahame Sydney says it was never appropriate to build a wind farm on such an outstanding piece of land.
Mr Sydney told Checkpoint he is thrilled with the decision.
"We think it's a very rational decision - and it's the right decision. We're delighted for the long-term protection of outstanding natural landscapes which of course Central Otago has in abundance."
Mr Sydney says the landscapes in the area mean a great deal to a huge number of New Zealanders.
Next story in National: Jetstar fined over border breach
Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand