ChanceryGreen acted for Contact Wind Limited and Contact Energy Limited on their applications for resource consents for the construction and operation of the Hauāuru Mā Raki wind farm and for notices of requirement necessary for related electricity transmission infrastructure. The wind farm had an installed capacity of up to 504MW and was expected to cost approximately NZD$1.5 billion to construct. It represented at the time the third largest consented renewable energy project in New Zealand, after the Manapouri and Benmore hydroelectric schemes (both of which were authorised by specific legislation). Because of the national significance of the project, the applications were ‘called in’ by the Minister for the Environment, and heard before a Board of Inquiry specifically appointed to consider them. The sheer scale and spread of this project posed significant challenges in terms of planning and managing expert input, as did the importance of Maori cultural and spiritual issues in this coastal area. Ecological considerations were also a very significant factor.
Following adjournment of the initial Board of Inquiry hearing in May 2009, Jason Welsh was appointed by Contact to advise on all aspects of project consenting and strategy, and to represent Contact in the reconvened hearing. This included refinement of the entire proposal, and in particular significant input on critical ecology and avifauna issues, and development of an extensive and novel ecological package to offset environmental impacts.
Following the reconvened hearing the Board issued its final decision granting consent to all 168 turbines, and approving the notices of requirement for the transmission line.