Wellington is a windy place, we’ll accept that. Except this year, when it has been unusually calm, but we’re not complaining! And New Zealand is a green, clean, and (almost) energy sustainable country. For years we have got by on nothing but hydro-electric and geo-thermal power – we’re the envy of the world, in many ways.
Lately however we’ve ben profligate in our energy use, and have been burning coal, oil, and gas. The mighty Maui oil and gas field has been depleted in an amazingly short 15 years or so – if we had used it carefully we could have had gas for cooking for the next 100 years or more – instead we piped it to shore, and burnt it off in a generator to make steam to drive a turbine to create electricity – a roundabout way that uses up the majority of the energy before it even gets to your home.
Now we’re doing the same with the also large Tui oil field, and we’re not even keeping the gas – we’re flaring that off at a tremendous rate. NZ is now nothing but a profligate energy waster – the only reason we’re still green is that we have such a low population. So, time to do something about it then!
Mill Creek wind farm is the proposal to build a new wind farm in the Ohariu Valley north west of Wellington, and it borders the other major wind farm project: West Wind, also by Meridian Energy. A self-appointed group of selfish Makara Residents, the “Makara Guardians” led by local Makara resident Jenny Jorgenson tried their hardest to get the West Wind stopped – thankfully they were tossed out in the Environment court. A similar group is also fighting the proposed Mill Creek giant wind turbines, and they’re just as selfish too.
Why should the small, self-centred property interests of the tiny handful of local residents have any rights over the needs of a nearby city of 200,000 or a country of 4 million, or even the greater needs of the world in an energy crisis? The wind turbines are huge, yes, but very very quiet. I’ve visited the wind farms near Palmerston North, and driving between the turbines in a gale, there was no sound. Only when actually standing directly under the turbine could the swishing noise be heard, and yet there they were, megawatts each, powering hundreds of homes with each turn of the blades. The locals in Woodville feared it at first, and now they love it. Overseas, some protest has centred on the the possibility of the giant blades killing flying migrating birds. Well, even better for us: our endangered birds are flightless, so no chance of harm there!