Long Gully wind farm

(For those of you not in Wellington, NZ, it’s a tad windy here. So we’re building three wind farms, two big, one small, within ten miles of the city. One is close to my in-laws’ farm. I don’t know of any other city that’s building so many, so close. Then again, there’s no other cities this windy. One is close to my in-laws’ farm.)

The Long Gully wind farm proposal is out. It’s different to the bigger projects at Mill Creek in Ohariu and West Wind at Terawhiti Station, smaller turbines, NZ-made, two-bladed not three, no major access roads to be built, feeding the Wellington local grid, not the national grid.

Still, smaller turbines, less of them, but closer to Wellington itself. It’s in prime mountain biking country. A lot more more people will be able to see it, but the turbines themselves won’t be as huge (about same size as the Brooklyn turbine). Also, smaller, fewer turbines so less elecy, 14 MegaWatt, rather than 210 MW for West Wind.

So what do people think? Good approach, bad approach? Can’t we put them in the Wairarapa? Ah, f’it, let’s burn coal instead?

34 thoughts on “Long Gully wind farm”

  1. I thnk it’s a good idea. If New Zealand made electricity from wind exclusively, only 1/3 of that would actually be used, without any waste products (hello stupid coal-burning rubbish).
    All in favour, say I?

    I.

  2. Am I the only person that really likes how wind turbines look and sound?
    I don’t mind living near them at all – and I think the Manawatu ranges covered in wind turbines is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in cross-country car journies!

    1. I like the way they look, and I think that they sound pretty cool too. But as a light sleeper I’m not so keen on the idea of being kept awake at night by one!

    2. I think they’re very pretty, but I think that my opinion is purely subjective and others don’t necessarily agree. And “ooo, pretty” isn’t the best foundation on which to base policy.

      I’d go for “ooo, it works” as the main basis. So it’s rather handy that they do.

        1. Much of it is, but I’d say that gets cancelled out by the people going “ooo, pretty”. Subjective on one side of the argument, subjective on the other, so we’ll find ourselves in the middle with the default objective state of affordable, low-carbon electricity. Hence we’re building them at a fair rate of knots.

  3. I love my electricity and want to be able to use as much of it as I like, therefore this means I have an obligation to support some form of electricity generation.

    Wind power seems to be well suited to New Zealand (because of our wind and because I understand they go well with hydro). I’m in favour if it makes sense financially.

    I’m also not worried about windfarms changing the view. If we find alternatives and eventually take them down, everything is back as it was.

    1. Yeah, exactly. It’s the work of weeks to remove them. The bases might take a bit of shifting, but would succumb to gelignite – or be an interesting feature for hikers and sheep to play on.

      1. I guess that’s in response to my “use as much as I like” comment.

        Better phrasing would probably be “use as much as I need for the lifestyle I want”, as I don’t really have an interest in using electricity for its own sake, I just want what it can do for me.

        Efficiency is a win if it saves money. It’s just a bonus that it can contribute to a better lifestyle too. e.g. I fully intend to insulate any house I buy/build on the grounds that it’s more efficient than paying for too much heating *and* it makes it nicer to live in.

        1. Yup, it was. I like your phrasing.

          Still, people massively underinvest in efficiency, coz they don’t know how much it will save them, or they don’t care, coz the people building or buying the houses/fridges/etc are not the people paying for the upkeep. It’s one of those areas where we’re not even doing the cost-effectie stuff, hence there’s government bodies like EECA to push this.

          Of course, EECA may not be long for this world, now that we have a government that’s committed to whatever it is that they’re going to do.

          1. I just like to point out (because I’m busy having a sulk about it) that insulating my house top and bottom added NO value to it, even though it’s arguably made it a much nicer place to live. I take from that that most people and/or ‘the market’ don’t care a rat’s ass whether a building is insulated.

  4. im quite a fan o wind farms. nice clean renewable energy sources ftw.
    i dont think theyre particularly unsightly, either, but i understand why people whinge… hmm. can wind turbines be decorated?

  5. The initial stuff that came out about long gully a few months back, made it look as if the turbines would be more remote from houses than the turbines in Mill Creek and West Wind are. Which you would not expect, given that it is closer to the city. However, I would need to check with the current proposal to see if this is still true, and no time to do that right now!

  6. My personal view is that those who object to renewable energy sources being constructed (or their continued use – c.f. Wanganui hydro) should be the first to be dropped off the grid when we run out of generation capacity.

    I also wonder at the mentality that has stopped wind generation being built around here for so long that it is only just getting under way in a location that seems to be ideally suited for it.

    Incidentally, on wind run (the meteorological measure of windiness) Wellington sits about 5th in the country, behind places like Palmerston North & Auckland. The difference being that when it blows around here it BLOWS, whereas Auckland is just windy enough to be a nuisance all the time…

      1. Given that the blades are made of wood & epoxy, I suspect they could embed LEDs in them and perhaps power the LEDs via embedded induction loops so you get lights for free while the blade is turning…

        I notice that they are claimed to be of a sufficiently short stature as to not require lighting under NZ Aviation regs…

      2. Yeah, but then the wind farms would be full of tripped-out hippies wandering along, looking at the pretty lights and wanting to plug their sound systems into the turbines for a carbon-neutral, ganga-positive and washing-negative festival.

        Hang on, that actually sounds like a good idea…

  7. Um, what “wellington power grid”. All power in NZ is connected and synchronised (more or less).

    If the turbines are close to large energy consumers, they won’t need transmission upgrades as they would if they were in Nelson or somewhere, it’s true.

      1. I presume they mean plugging directly into the distribution network (i.e. Vector) rather than the transmission network. Like the way that Eastland Network have some local generation capacity.

  8. I’m all for them, here, in the Wairarapa, anywhere we can harvest wind.

    (with the caveat that folks wot are losing land to them should be compensated)

    Wasn’t Haunui one of the first?

    1. 2 questions:
      (1) what about compensation for people who are losing life quality (not necessarily related to loss of land) as a result of the development?
      (2) what if requirements for compensation make wind farm developments too costly to be viable, putting a stop to their construction and promoting investment in fossil fuel burning generation instead?

      I honestly don’t know what the answers here should be.

      1. Me neither.

        Life quality (like the riders and your folks with the 100 trucks a day) is harder to put a price on than productivity of land. There’s a book about it in the library – something about “The Economics of Value” or some such.

        I think the compensation-might-not-be viable thing is definitely valid, but I do think also that if companies had to consider this, they may also consider locations a little differently, which in the long run might not be a bad thing.

        But yeah, no hard and fast answers to either of those questions.

  9. Agreed. However, if you lived in a secluded location, with very little traffic (and you moved to that location partly for that reason). And if you then had a wind turbine plonked next door … the change would be quite significant. There is one case that I know of, of a house becoming uninhabitable due to wind turbine noise. In this case the owners did get compensated.

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