Wairarapa is the location of up to eleven wind farms which have developed over the years. Just a few short years ago, there was only one in the area, Hau Nui. While the development has grown, Hau Nui is still thought of as being the most powerful by far.
Hau Nui or Big Wind Farm
The first wind farm in Wairarapa was established 22 years ago. The wind farm powers 15 immense turbines that provide enough energy to power 4000 homes. Seven of these were initially installed in 1996 with a further eight, more modern versions, being added in 2004. The region is the perfect location for the wind farm and was selected due to the wind currents which are ideal. The wind is channelled and the speed increased by the presence of the Cook Strait and the Remutaka mountain range.
The potential of the area to generate power is phenomenal. In 2001 the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority reported that the Wairarapa region, its hills and coast, have potentially the second-highest energy output in New Zealand.
Local Support and Environmental Impacts
The Hau Nui project is one that attracted much interest and support from the public. While other projects similar to Hau Nui have been proposed, many have been declined. The maintenance of the environment, prevention of further climate change, and degradation of the ozone layer are at the forefront. Wind-powered energy is definitely the way to go as a renewable source; however, these kinds of projects need to be erected in areas that will not be affected negatively. Proposed projects that have received negative feedback have sought to place these huge mills in environmentally attractive areas, destroying the natural environment. Hau Nui differs in that the area which was selected for the turbine plant does not affect the people of the surrounding environment in any negative way.