Wind Power plan cancelled

Meridian Energy has decided not to go ahead with their plan to put 176 wind turbines in Central Otago. Local people set up a protest group. This group has spent a lot of time and money fighting to stop Meridian Energy for the last six years. In 2009, the Environment Court did not support the plan. Meridian Energy went to the High Court which sent it back to the Environment Court. Now Meridian has decided they have other plans for generating electricity which may be cheaper. The cost of the Central Otago turbines was $2bn.

New Zealand is a windy country. Meridian’s planned wind farm was going to produce 630MW of electricity. At the moment only 4% of our electricity comes from wind although the plan is for 20% in the next 20 years. Most of our electricity – 57% – is from hydro, 10% from geo-thermal activity and the rest from coal, gas or oil. More geo-thermal power stations are possible in the future.

The Central Otago community which do not want wind turbines in their area say that turbines are ugly and noisy. This part of New Zealand is a quiet, peaceful and beautiful part.

An earlier plan by Meridian Energy for hydro power from the Waitaki River in Otago was cancelled in 2004, partly because of protests from local groups.

Note: Meridian Energy is a company owned by the government. The government plans to sell 49% of it very soon.


1. Why do local communities protest about building new hydro power stations?
2. What are the advantages of wind power? What other disadvantages are there?
3. Are there any disadvantages to geo-thermal power stations?
4. Electricity generated in one area is sent to other parts of New Zealand. Is it fair for a local community to stop a power project?

One Comments

  1. The audio ia also excellent, obviously intended for a learning context…. could be used as an example of good expression.

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