SUPPORTING ENERGY GENERATORS AND INVESTORS MAKE THE TRANSITION TOWARDS RENEWABLE ENERGY TO ACHIEVE NEW ZEALAND’S SUSTAINABILITY TARGETS.
Planning & Policy, Resource Consents, Property Advisory, Energy & Utilities, Ecology, Landscape Architecture, Iwi Engagement
4Sight continues to grow its track record in supporting our clients develop renewable energy sources to contribute towards New Zealand’s transition to renewable energy. We have gained significant experience investigating sites and managing environmental investigations, ecological impact assessments, stakeholder engagement and successful resource consent applications for utility scale renewable energy generation and transmission projects throughout Aotearoa. Our clients are energy generators, distributers and developers, and how we have helped them meet their aspirations are detailed below.
Since 2019 4Sight has worked with Harmony Energy NZ to obtain resource consents for their programme of solar developments across New Zealand to support their substantial long term project pipeline. The solar farm roll out has included one of New Zealand’s largest solar farms, at 147 MW capacity in Te Aroha, Waikato, gaining consent in September 2022 through the Fast Track legislation. The programme includes scoping possible sites, consulting with iwi and affected parties, investigating ecology, reviewing landscape impacts and assessing soil contamination. Read our case study on the Tauhei Solar Farm to find out more.
Genesis Energy has committed to reducing their carbon emissions and has a Future-Gen strategy that is focused on developing 2,650 GWh of new renewable generation by 2030. Our Property team has been heavily involved in the site investigation and securing the necessary occupation rights for the Genesis Solar-Gen programme throughout the North Island, by actively scoping sites, completing detailed site evaluations, building relationships with landowners and onboarding. Our Planning team has also supported their JV partnership with FRV Australia in achieving compliance through an RMA due diligence assessment and consent variation for the large-scale 52 MW Lauriston Solar Farm on the Canterbury Plains. The 90-hectare site will hold approximately 80,000 solar panels that will generate around 80 GWh of renewable electricity annually.
Yinson Renewables are on track to becoming a leading global renewable energy independent power producer, primary focused on onshore wind and solar. Our property team are working with Yinson to investigate sites and secure investigative licences for a proposed wind farm, the first of a number planned for New Zealand over the coming years.
Manawa Energy is developing new renewable generation assets and has existing generation schemes representing around 5% of New Zealand’s generation capacity. Our Dunedin Ecology team has a long history supporting the environmental monitoring for Manawa Energy’s hydroelectric power schemes that is required for resource consent applications, and services relating to new developments and reconsenting existing hydroelectric power schemes. The team has supported these projects by carrying out aquatic ecology monitoring across New Zealand with a focus on water quality, macroinvertebrate, and periphyton sampling in both rivers and lakes, undertaking assessments relating to fish passage and advice for the construction and operation of fish passage structures. Our Tauranga Ecology team have set up and managed their upstream and downstream native fish trap and transfer programme at a site in the Bay of Plenty, and supported the reconsenting of a hydroelectric power scheme in the central North Island through the collection of water quality and ecological data.
For a private development partnership, our Environmental, Ecology and Planning teams in collaboration with SLR’s New Zealand based Acoustics team have worked on the consenting of a proposed 80 MW wind farm in the Waikato. A significant part of the project delivery was the collection of site-based data to meet the COVID-19 Fast Track consenting timeframes. At the client’s request, our team took responsibility of the overall project management and delivery, including the on site data collection. The team supported the effective engagement with mana whenua and the delivery of on-site contaminated land, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, and noise effects assessments.
Eastland Generation has diversified their investments to contribute to New Zealand’s renewable energy transformation and develop renewable energy projects. 4Sight supported Eastland Generation with their roll out of renewable energy developments by managing the consenting of the first utility scale solar farm in Gisborne at Gisborne Airport. The 5.2 MW solar farm, including a 2 MWh battery energy storage system, achieved consent in December 2021 and construction began in October 2022. Find out more in our case study on the Gisborne Solar PV Farm.
Mercury Energy generates 100% renewable energy and continues to invest in low carbon electricity generation through wind farms, hydro stations and geothermal lants. 4Sight’s Environmental team completed the environmental compliance involved to construct and install a 12km long 220kV transmission line which will connect an existing substation to the new infrastructure for the Turitea Wind Farm, currently New Zealand’s largest wind farm under construction in the Tararua Ranges above Palmerston North. We also provided planning advice and ecological input into the construction methodologies. For Mercury’s 133MW Waipipi Wind Farm in South Taranaki which became operational in March 2021, our Planning team reviewed RMA consent compliance for project lenders, and ‘most likely case’ and ‘reasonable worst case’ scenarios for general project risks. Our Terrestrial and Freshwater Ecologists based in Dunedin have been involved in the Waipipi Wind Farm project since 2011, contributing to feasibility studies, environmental impact assessment, consenting, and implementation of environmental management during and post-construction. Our Ecology team continue to be involved with Mercury’s renewable energy projects through ongoing annual ecological monitoring and reporting.
In early 2023 our Planning team completed an independent ESG (environmental, social and governance) due diligence review of five consented solar farm sites for a confidential investor – as part of the information being prepared for potential project lenders. In doing so, we applied the Equator framework and the IFC (International Finance Corporation) principles.
In addition to investigating and consenting various renewable energy projects, our Policy team works closely with central government on policy options to better enable the development of renewable energy generation and transmission through the resource management reforms and national direction. This work provides us with unique knowledge of the current and future national policy setting for the development of renewable energy generation and transmission in New Zealand. This insight also enables our experts to advise local authority clients on district and regional plan provisions and navigate private sector clients through the regulatory framework in New Zealand.
Our knowledge of the regulatory requirements, and experience in compliance management and due diligence related to renewable energy projects has enabled 4Sight to be a trusted advisor to our clients making the shift towards more renewable energy generation. The strength of our service is in our capability to offer a suite of integrated planning and environmental services with leading technical experts, including property, planning, ecology, landscape, iwi engagement and consultation, contaminated land, environmental and project management. Now that 4Sight is part of SLR, we are also able to offer global expertise in marine ecology, acoustics and vibration, hydrology and hydrogeology, and glint and glare assessments. In keeping true to our purpose, we ensure that balanced outcomes are achieved for our land, people and water.