Wel's windfarm critic has plenty of hits at hearing

Last updated 12:27 29/02/2008

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The more Wel Networks' proposed Te Uku wind farm is investigated, the worse it looks, says one of the project's most vociferous critics.

Aotea Harbour aerodynamicist Sean Cox the man most responsible for the project's hearing still running returned to Ngaruawahia yesterday to take another crack at Wel's application to build and operate a 28-turbine wind farm.

With a mix of pointy-headed science and gratuitous insults, he delivered a 212 hour dissertation on the problems with wind farms, Wel Networks, the Resource Management Act process, and new trends in the energy sector.

Earlier Wel Networks had painted him as an unreliable witness who lacked credibility, but Mr Cox scored plenty of hits in concluding the wind farm was "an economic and power supply disaster".

"If it had been built a year ago it would not have earned enough in the last year at wholesale power rates to get close to covering its interest payments," he said.

He believed Wel's economic modelling took no account of damage from adverse weather, legal action from future realised health effects, obsolescence due to improved alternate technology, or reduced income through technological change or altered government policies.

"Wind power is now obsolete for the North Island," he said, in tabling economic models for alternate power projects.

And there was an ominous warning for Wel if they did proceed. "Should these turbines be built, they will be the best monitored ones in the world. Every watt of power, every squeak of sound, every whiff of subsonics and every bird they kill will be recorded. Then we will see who was right."

Mr Cox, a wind farm pioneer and designer of fighter aircraft for British Aerospace, refused to give his full qualifications to the hearing.

"Just call me Mr Cox. Far too much weight is given to qualifications and it disadvantages ordinary people. Take the evidence as I have presented it.

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