COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Referred Projects Order 2020

Schedule 42 Tauhei Solar Farm

cl 5

Schedule 42: inserted, on 11 February 2022, by clause 4 of the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Referred Projects Amendment Order (No 2) 2022 (SL 2022/10).

Project referred to expert consenting panel

Heading: inserted, on 11 February 2022, by clause 4 of the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Referred Projects Amendment Order (No 2) 2022 (SL 2022/10).

1 Name of project

The name of the project is the Tauhei Solar Farm (the project).

Schedule 42 clause 1: inserted, on 11 February 2022, by clause 4 of the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Referred Projects Amendment Order (No 2) 2022 (SL 2022/10).

2 Authorised person

The authorised person for the project is Harmony Energy NZ Limited.

Schedule 42 clause 2: inserted, on 11 February 2022, by clause 4 of the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Referred Projects Amendment Order (No 2) 2022 (SL 2022/10).

3 Description of project

The scope of the project is—

(a)

to construct a solar farm that comprises—

(i)

solar panels, arrays, mounting structures, and poles covering approximately 182 hectares of the project site; and

(ii)

a power station; and

(iii)

2 substations; and

(iv)

underground electricity cables; and

(v)

ancillary buildings, structures, and infrastructure (including roads, fencing, and security lighting); and

(vi)

landscaping that includes planting and enhancing biodiversity corridors and boundary screening; and

(vii)

a 7-hectare wetland to be created within the project site; and

(b)

to install ancillary underground cabling from the solar farm to the boundary of the Waihou substation located at 40 Mikkelsen Road, Te Aroha, Waikato; and

(c)

to operate the solar farm for the purpose of supplying electricity to the national grid.

Schedule 42 clause 3: inserted, on 11 February 2022, by clause 4 of the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Referred Projects Amendment Order (No 2) 2022 (SL 2022/10).

4 Description of activities involved in project

(1)

The project may involve the following activities:

(a)

clearing vegetation:

(b)

carrying out earthworks, including disturbing potentially contaminated soil:

(c)

taking, using, and diverting goundwater:

(d)

discharging groundwater, stormwater run-off, and contaminants into water and on to land:

(e)

constructing buildings and other structures:

(f)

installing underground electricity cables:

(g)

installing infrastructure ancillary to the solar farm, including infrastructure ancillary to the underground electricity cables:

(h)

constructing or upgrading roads, culverts, vehicle access areas, and parking areas:

(i)

developing and restoring wetland areas, including constructing wetland utility structures:

(j)

landscaping and planting:

(k)

operating a solar farm:

(l)

offering educational visits for students and other visitors:

(m)

carrying out any other activities that are—

(i)

associated with the activities described in paragraphs (a) to (l); and

(ii)

within the scope of the project as described in clause 3 of this schedule.

(2)

In subclause (1)(h), wetland utility structure

(a)

means a structure placed in or adjacent to a wetland for the purpose of recreation, education, conservation, restoration, or monitoring in relation to the wetland; and

(b)

includes the following structures that are placed in, or adjacent to, a wetland for a purpose described in paragraph (a):

(i)

jetties:

(ii)

boardwalks:

(iii)

walking tracks and bridges connecting them:

(iv)

signs:

(v)

monitoring devices:

(vi)

birdwatching hides and maimai.

Schedule 42 clause 4: inserted, on 11 February 2022, by clause 4 of the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Referred Projects Amendment Order (No 2) 2022 (SL 2022/10).

5 Approximate geographical location

The project will occur on—

(a)

262.5 hectares of privately owned land, subject to an easement to be granted by the owner; and

(b)

parts of the Mikkelsen Road and O’Donoghue Road reserves in Te Aroha West, Waikato, subject to authorisations to be granted by Matamata–Piako District Council.

Schedule 42 clause 5: inserted, on 11 February 2022, by clause 4 of the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Referred Projects Amendment Order (No 2) 2022 (SL 2022/10).

6 Further information to be submitted

The following information must be submitted to the panel with any consent application relating to the project (in addition to the information required by clause 9 of Schedule 6 of the Act):

(a)

an integrated transport assessment that—

(i)

identifies the effects of additional traffic on the road network caused during the construction phase, including the effects on road safety and maintenance, and indicates how those effects are to be mitigated; and

(ii)

identifies how the repair of damage to roads during the construction phase is to be funded; and

(b)

a glint and glare assessment of the photovoltaic panels, including modelling the location and nature of glint and glare on road users and sensitive receptors such as dwellings, together with measures for mitigation of those effects; and

(c)

an assessment of the effects of the project on the local ecology and biodiversity, including on aquatic animals; and

(d)

an assessment of the visual effects of the project on the landscape and natural character of the project site, including any effects on the rural landscape and the Te Aroha West settlement; and

(e)

an acoustic assessment that identifies—

(i)

the effects of noise from the solar farm on the amenity of the residential units on neighbouring properties; and

(ii)

the measures to be taken to mitigate those effects; and

(f)

information about discussions held, or agreements made, by the authorised person (see clause 2) and Matamata–Piako District Council or Transpower New Zealand Limited about—

(i)

occupying the road reserve for underground infrastructure; and

(ii)

connecting the solar farm to the national grid.

Schedule 42 clause 6: inserted, on 11 February 2022, by clause 4 of the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Referred Projects Amendment Order (No 2) 2022 (SL 2022/10).

7 Persons who must be invited to comment on project

An expert consenting panel must invite comments on any consent application relating to the project from the following persons in addition to the persons listed in clause 17(6) of Schedule 6 of the Act:

(a)

the Minister of Energy and Resources; and

(b)

Transpower New Zealand Limited.

Schedule 42 clause 7: inserted, on 11 February 2022, by clause 4 of the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Referred Projects Amendment Order (No 2) 2022 (SL 2022/10).

8 No further provision required

No further provision is necessary to give effect to decisions made by the Minister under section 24 of the Act in respect of the project.

Schedule 42 clause 8: inserted, on 11 February 2022, by clause 4 of the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Referred Projects Amendment Order (No 2) 2022 (SL 2022/10).

Statement of reasons

Heading: inserted, on 11 February 2022, by clause 4 of the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Referred Projects Amendment Order (No 2) 2022 (SL 2022/10).

This statement of reasons is published for the purposes of clause 4 of Schedule 3 of the Act

The Minister for the Environment has accepted this application for referral. The Minister considered the application against the criteria in the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020 (the Act) and the Act’s purpose, and sought and considered written comments from the relevant Ministers, Matamata–Piako District Council, and Waikato Regional Council. The Minister has accepted this application for the following reasons:

  • the project will help to achieve the purpose of the Act:

  • the project will generate approximately 568 direct full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in engineering, design, and construction over a 2-year period, and approximately 7 direct FTE jobs on a permanent basis:

  • the project will provide infrastructure that will contribute to improving economic and employment outcomes:

  • the project will assist New Zealand’s efforts to mitigate climate change and enable the country to transition more quickly to a low greenhouse gas emitting economy by increasing the generation of renewable energy in New Zealand:

  • the project is likely to progress faster than would otherwise be the case under the Resource Management Act 1991 standard processes:

  • any actual and potential effects on the environment, and proposed mitigation measures, can be appropriately tested by an expert consenting panel against Part 2 of the Resource Management Act 1991 and the purpose of the Act.