Frequently Asked Questions

Why has Blueskin Energy Limited (BEL) appealed the decision to decline consent?
BEL considers that although the Dunedin City Council accepted almost all of the BEL evidence, it erred in not granting consent for the two turbines it found acceptable. We also consider that it erred in declining full consent by not adequately considering the National Policy Statement on Renewable Electricity Generation, as well as other important matters (see the appeal document). The proposal was found to be acceptable in every way but one. The Trustees considered that the best way of addressing this difficulty was for BEL to appeal and for the matter to go to mediation. That process permits a period of negotiation prior to any Environment Court proceedings. At that stage it may be possible to resolve that last problem area. That’s where we currently stand.
What’s in it for me?
You might want to invest in it when we develop it and receive a return from the local wind farm. You might use or want to use any of the Trust’s services, such as free Cosy Energy Advice, Home Performance Assessments, affordable insulation or firewood, Healthy Rental Certification, or our other support. The wind farm will enable us to keep offering these services. If your property or activity is likely to be threatened by climate change, the Trust may be able to assist you. You may simply benefit from the increase in local employment in our community.
What’s the community benefit?
The services and projects the Trust delivers are for the benefit of our community. The Trust expects to receive an annual dividend averaging $100, 000. This will be used to support Trust services and other community initiatives. An increase in green jobs employment will give an economic boost to the community. The building of a local renewable energy asset will help us develop a more resilient local grid. In the longer term, this may also help us provide a local green electricity retail service incorporating solar power that provides a greater security of local supply.
Will it really contribute to local energy security or resilience?
Not by itself. To increase local energy security and resilience we’ll need to continue the work to encourage micro-generation as well (solar and micro-wind) and work with the network owner to install back up storage and safe switching. However it will assist the development of energy security and local resilience in conjunction with these other innovations.
Won’t the electricity just go into the national grid?
No, the electrons will flow into the local network and feed the Waitati sub-station, from where they will be distributed into the local lines, not the national grid. This will reduce the demand for electricity from the national grid. This is where the physical electrons will go.
Why Porteous Hill?
In 2009 we began looking for suitable sites and collecting preliminary data. By 2011 it was clear that Porteous Hill had all the criteria we needed: good wind and access, easy access to transmission lines, and good community support. Our community survey and results from community meetings supported Porteous Hill as a suitable site. Porteous Hill is within the local grid and generation here can feed electricity into the local grid that will distribute it to local consumers.
But our electricity is 100% renewable in the South Island anyway, isn’t it?
At present, all our electricity supply comes from one large national pool of electricity that is only about 80% renewable. The remaining 20% or so is generated by coal and gas fired power stations.
Will it make our electricity cheaper?
There are a number of market arrangements open to us, but we cannot give any guarantee that this project will have any impact on price at this time.
What risk is there to birds from the turbines?
Wind power has been a part of the energy landscape in New Zealand for more than twenty years. Effects on birds has been well researched. The Commissioner accepted the expert evidence judging little risk to bird populations and ruled that "on the balance of probabilities that the effects on avifauna will be minimal".
How much noise will the wind turbines make?
The noise level from this type of wind farm will be very small and will fall within the New Zealand Standard 6808. This is used to determine the downwind sound levels of the turbines. Noise generated from this wind farm will have a minimal impact on the adjacent residents and cause minimal to no disturbance. The Commissioner has accepted that the proposal will be able to comply with New Zealand standard 6808.
Will the windfarm be visible from the road?
Visibility from Porteous Road (the access road) and Pryde Road (north of the wind farm site) will provide the clearest views where not obscured by trees. Visibility from the Coast Road, and State Highway 1, will be brief and fleeting. While the wind farm will be potentially visible from the Southern Motorway by Leith Saddle, it is unlikely to be easily seen at that point. The Commissioner ruled that considering landscape impact "the effect on the wider environment is not necessarily adverse".
What ground footprint will the windfarm take up?
All foundations are buried. Once constructed, the footprint will be approximately 28 square metres.
Is the land on Porteous Hill stable enough to construct three wind turbines?
The Geological and Geotechnical analysis confirmed that the site is underlain by very good soils that will provide very good foundations, and should not be subject to land-slides. The Commissioner agreed with the expert evidence.
Will the wind farm have an effect on spring water?
Porteous Hill soil is highly porous. The concrete foundations will have a minimal effect on rainwater absorption over the 24 ha site and so there will be minimal effect on groundwater transfer through the area. The Commissioner agreed with the expert evidence.
What effect will the wind farm lights have on the Night Sky?
Each turbine will possess a medium intensity intermittent red light at the top of the tower, as on other tall structures in our landscape, shielded from view from below the horizontal plane. Not only will this not be visible from most of the surrounding area, it will add very little additional light to that of the many existing sources in the area. The Commissioner agreed that any effects will be minor.
Will I be able to visit the wind farm when it is constructed?
BEL and the landowners are aware of community interest in the wind farm and will balance the needs of a working farm on private land with appropriate access for the community. Details of access will be available once the wind farm is operating.

Please send questions to office@brct.org.nz