State-owned Mighty River Power has been granted resource consents for a proposed 53 turbine wind farm on the Puketoi Range, but weak electricity demand means the site is unlikely to be developed for some time.
The consents include provision for a transmission line to link the 159 Megawatt Puketoi project to the national grind. At full capacity, the proposed development could provide sufficient electricity to power the equivalent of 150,000 homes.
With electricity demand pegged back to levels last seen in 2008, no newly consented projects were likely to come to market in the short term, Mark Trigg, MRP's general manager of development, said in a statement.
"Given the multi-year lead time to prepare opportunities and secure resource consents, we continue to take a long-term view, ensuring we are ready to commit to projects quickly as economic growth - and therefore electricity demand - recovers."
Power companies Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy, Genesis and Solid Energy and Air New Zealand have been flagged for a partial sell-down in the Government's mixed ownership model, expected to kick off in the third quarter this year. The National government has signaled the sales could free up as much as $10 billion.
MRP is currently constructing a 460 Megawatt geothermal plant near Taupo, called Ngatamariki, for commissioning in mid-2013."