Brooklyn turbine's lease extended

COMING DOWN: Brooklyn's wind turbine is being replaced.
COMING DOWN: Brooklyn's wind turbine is being replaced.

The Brooklyn wind turbine looks likely to remain on Hawkins Hill for a while yet, after Wellington City Council voted to renew Meridian Energy's lease on the land for another 20 years.

At today's strategy and policy committee meeting the council voted to renew Meridian Energy's lease for the site in Wellington's outer town belt, where the turbine has been generating power since 1993.

The lease expired in 2008, but was not renewed as Meridian was uncertain about the future of the turbine.

Earlier this month Meridian recommitted to the site and said it was looking at upgrading the turbine with a newer, more efficient model.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Councillor Ngaire Best put forward amendments saying any changes to the current turbine would have to gain resource consent, and any significant increase in height is likely to need public notification. The committee also set landowner-approved height limits on the turbine.

The current turbine has a total height of 45 metres.

The new lease would allow Meridian Energy to seek resource consent for a new turbine up to a total height of 77m. Anything higher would have to come back to council for approval.

Ms Wade-Brown said there was huge council support for the turbine, but the residents of the area needed to be taken into account.

''We are simply saying that we don't want the neighbours to be unhappy because they wake up one morning with a whopping great big turbine outside which is double the height.''

The lease will be for 20 years, and includes the visitor centre and carpark. Rent will start at $8545 plus GST per year, and will be reviewed every five years.

The lease still needs final full council approval.

The Dominion Post