Wind farm for Chathams

Last updated 22:47 16/12/2008
WIND POWER: Chatham Islands residents are hoping harnessing the wind which blasts across the remote region may put a stop to soaring power bills.

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A twin-turbine wind farm should help put a stop to "extortionate" power bills and fuel tanks running dry, a Chatham Islands resident says.

Australian-based CBD Energy yesterday announced it had won the tender to build two wind turbines and manage the electricity grid for the islands.

About 700 residents of the islands, 800km east of Christchurch, face power bills as much as 10 times that of mainland New Zealanders.

"Diesel runs out," Chatham Islands farmer Paul Smith said.

"We ran out of petrol just last week and the island was out of petrol for three days while the boat arrived."

CBD Energy chief executive Gerry McGowan said the two 200-kilowatt turbines, to be erected on the Chathams' main island, would be built by the end of next year.

The Chatham Islands hoped to become reliant on renewable energy.

"Costs are high, there's no doubt about that; but it's all relative," Smith said. "We haven't got big malls and McDonald's, so it's where you spend your money, isn't it? I just think, if your electricity bill is too high, use less electricity."

After 20 years, the operation of the turbines will pass to the Chatham Islands Enterprise Trust.

 

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