Stewart Island wind turbines to cut diesel use

Stewart Islanders are celebrating the end of their diesel dependency. 

The Government has greenlit $3.16 million from the Provincial Growth Fund towards two new wind turbines. 

Owner of Stewart Island Backpackers, Aaron Joy, says the move will help his dreams for passing hikers come true.

"One of the things I've always wanted is to develop spa pools - then they come off the track, have a shower and then they can relax. But with the current state of electricity and diesel, it's not even viable."

He says the current diesel generators burn 360,000 litres of carbon-emitting fuel a year.

"Installing wind turbines will work to improve business viability, increase productivity and encourage businesses to remain on the island," said Environment Minister David Parker. "Jobs will be created during the pre-construction and construction phase."

The grant isn't enough to cover hydro schemes or electricity cables, but Joy says the wind turbines will do just fine.

"We're pretty happy. The proposed area they're looking to put them, it's not by the village - it's at the back of the airfield. It's not going to cause an eyesore or noise factor."

He says over time they may even reduce their cost of energy, which has been estimated at three times what people on the mainland pay.

"It's now up to the island and Southland District Council to work through the resource consents and get this underway. The Government's done their bit, which we're really thankful for - now it's up to the community to get into gear."

He says any movement towards a diesel-free Island is fantastic.


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