Environment, Southland · 3 Mar 2021

Plans Shelved for Stewart Island/Rakiura Windfarm Project

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Investigations into developing a windfarm on Stewart Island/Rakiura have ended after agreement could not be reached on a suitable location.

In November 2019 the government granted $3.16 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to enable pre-development and construction stages of a windfarm to reduce the island’s reliance on diesel to generate electricity.

A windfarm would have provided a renewable energy source, and reduced diesel use on the island.

However, despite comprehensive investigation of several potential locations, agreement could not be reached with landowners on a site to build the windfarm.

Southland District Mayor Gary Tong says Council and central government have worked alongside the Rakiura community for a number of years to investigate sustainable energy options. “Unfortunately, the latest work has identified that wind generation is not an option at this time. Alternative energy generation such as hydro, marine and solar have all previously been considered and assessed as either lacking efficiency or not as economic when compared with wind.

“This will be a disappointment to residents as they continue to use electricity created by diesel generators on an island where over 90% of the land mass is National Park, it has Dark Sky Sanctuary status and is looking at being Predator Free by 2025.”

Some funds from the original $3.16 million had been advanced from the Provincial Development Unit arm of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to enable Southland District Council to carry out pre-development work. The remainder of the funding will be returned to central government.