The government is putting three wind farms into the fast-track consent process that, if approved and built, could generate three and a half times the output of the Clyde dam.
Ministers have also highlighted the number of solar projects that have also been fast-tracked.
The wind projects will be pushed through using the fast-track consent process initially set up as a temporary response to covid and then extended. It will become a permanent feature of the resource management reforms with the Natural and Built Environments legislation set to become law this month.
The solar projects have all been referred for fast-track approval from 2021 under the temporary legislation.
Energy Minister Megan Woods said the three proposed wind farms – in Manawatū, near Auckland and in Southland – will generate a peak output of about 419 megawatts (MW). That compares to the Clyde dam, NZ’s third largest hydro-electric dam, which generates around 432MW.
If approved, the solar projects could generate 1,147MW, or around two and a half times the output of the Clyde dam. Nearly 2 million solar panels have so far been referred for consent.
Construction of the solar projects could create up to 2,300 construction jobs, Woods said.
In June, fast-track referrals were agreed for Harmony Energy’s solar projects near Marton, Ōpunake and Carterton, and Energy Farms’ projects near Rangitikei and in Taranaki.
In April, the government referred solar farm projects in Rangiriri and Waerenga in Waikato for fast-track consent.
Contact Energy Southland wind farm will generate a peak 300MW if approved, from 55 wind turbines. NZ Windfarms wants to generate 39MW at its proposed Te Rere Hau wind farm near Woodville.
The third 18-turbine wind farm near Auckland will produce 80MW at peak output.