Boffa Miskell ecologists and landscape planners have been involved with the proposed development for over ten years. More recently, we developed visual simulations to assist Meridian with community engagement on the project.
Meridian Energy has a consent to build 41 turbines in the Maungaharuru Range northwest of Napier. Once constructed, the Harapaki Wind Farm will generate enough renewable energy to power around 70,000 homes.
“Meridian wanted to optimise the site by using fewer turbines to generate power,” says landscape planner Rhys Girvan. “Increasing the height of the turbines was the way to do it. But, of course, the landscape and ecological values needed to be taken into account as well.”
Ecologist Leigh Bull managed and undertook all ecological field studies to satisfy the baseline monitoring requirements for resource consent conditions; and will continue to lead monitoring of the potential risk to native avifauna during the construction and operation phases.
“From a landscape and ecology point of view, we’ve already achieved a great outcome,” says Leigh. “The footprint of the site is nearly half of what was originally proposed, yet it will still produce an impactful amount of renewable energy.
“We’ll be working closely with Meridian in the future to help support their efforts to to take action on climate change and move toward clean energy sources.”
Design reviews have lowered the amount of concrete and steel needed in construction, reducing the overall carbon footprint of the project by over 30%. Boffa Miskell’s technical services team assisted Meridian with community engagement by providing visual simulations of what the finished wind farm would look like.
“Integrating large-scale wind-based energy production into the rural landscape needs to be done sensitively,” says Rhys. “So we literally drove around the area, and took representative photos from vantage points and dropped in the proposed turbines to illustrate the visual change.”
Meridian used those simulations on their website and in community meetings.
Harapaki translates to ‘escarpment’, reflecting the dramatic limestone escarpments of the Maungaharuru range. Harapaki will be New Zealand’s second-largest wind farm; generating 176 MW of renewable energy. The construction will take around three years and is expected to create over 250 jobs.
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25 February 2021