West Wind farm
West Wind farm is located in Mākara, west of Wellington city, New Zealand.
The wind farm’s 62 wind turbines can generate up to 142.6 megawatts of electricity. The 62 wind turbines at the West Wind farm generate enough electricity each year for about 73,000 average New Zealand homes.
West Wind is the third wind farm Meridian has built in New Zealand.
Why build a wind farm here?
West Wind uses one of Wellington’s most renowned natural resources – wind. The funnelling effect of Cook Strait means the site has strong and consistent wind speeds, making it an ideal place for a wind farm.
Right from the early stages of planning, it was clear that getting the turbine components to the site would require innovative solutions.
To avoid Wellington’s busy streets, Meridian constructed a temporary wharf at Oteranga Bay where turbine parts were shipped in. Thirty-three kilometres of roads were built to link the wharf to the wind farm site.
2007 Construction begins
2009 West Wind fully operational
West Wind Recreation Area
Giving the public access to West Wind has been part of Meridian’s plan since the project was consented. The recreation area includes a viewing platform where views of the wind farm can be enjoyed, as well as walking and mountain biking tracks.
Meridian has worked on the recreation area in collaboration with the Mākara community via a recreation group and community liaison group.
The recreation area includes the old Post Office building, which has been converted into a viewing platform – retaining some of its most unique features and creating a space where views of the coast and the wind farm can be enjoyed.
From here visitors can take a short walk to the People’s Turbine, one of the wind farm’s 62 turbines, and the only turbine that the public will be able to access on the site. However substantial views of the wind farm can be seen from most parts of the recreation area.
There are also two other walking tracks of various lengths and difficulty that offer fantastic views of the coastline and access to Mākara Beach from the recreation area. Two mountain biking tracks, designed and constructed by Wellington mountain bikers Jonathan, Paul and Simon Kennett, provide some wonderful challenges for keen mountain bikers.
West Wind recreation area opening times
|Summer||1 Oct - 31 Mar||9am - 6pm|
|Winter||1 Apr - 31 Jul||9am - 4pm|
|Lambing||1 Aug - 9 Oct||Closed|
Public access to the recreation area is via Opau Road. Car parking is available for 60 cars. Sorry, no dogs are allowed in the recreation area. Please be aware that farm livestock may be present in the recreation area.
Opau loop track
Please note the Opau loop track is closed until further notice due to the felling of trees deemed a risk in the area.
The felled trees will remain to provide food and shelter to native plantings that will grow up to replace the pine trees as part of Meridian's Forever Forests program. Due to the need for the slopes and felled trees to stabilise before the site can be safely accessed, this planting is set to take place in 2023.
In the short term we are working to re-route part of the Opau Bay loop track, and in the longer term we intend to create a bush walk in the replanted area.