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Growth In Wind Generation Good For New Zealand

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Growth In Wind Generation Good For New Zealand

2 JULY 2008 - Figures released today by the Ministry of Economic Development show wind energy is making an important and growing contribution to New Zealand's electricity supply, says the New Zealand Wind Energy Association.

During 2007 wind capacity almost doubled to 321.7 MW, with the commissioning of White Hill wind farm in Southland and Stage 3 of the Tararua wind farm in the Manawatu. Wind provided 2.2% of total electricity generation in 2007. In the first quarter of 2008 wind's contribution to generation grew to 2.6%.

"Continued growth in wind generation will provide much needed diversity in the energy sources used for generating electricity and help to enhance security of electricity supply," says NZWEA Chief Executive Fraser Clark.

"Wind energy has a natural synergy with our existing hydro resources. As an additional energy source it provides choices for how and when water stored in hydro lakes is used - choices that become increasingly valuable for managing electricity in dry years.

"In addition, greater wind generation will minimise the exposure of electricity prices to the rising costs associated with thermal generation. The cost of wind generation is not affected by the increasing price of fossil fuels or the cost of carbon emissions."

Installed wind capacity will grow to 493.6MW by the end of 2009, when construction finishes on Meridian Energy's Project West Wind (near Wellington) and Stage 2 of NZ Windfarms Te Rere Hau (in the Manawatu).

"Beyond 2009, we will continue to see strong growth in New Zealand's wind energy sector," says Mr Clark. All major generators are pursuing wind energy projects. In the last week, resource consent applications have been submitted by Meridian Energy for a wind farm in the central North Island and by Contact Energy for a wind farm in the Waikato. Earlier this week Mighty River Power announced its intention to pursue a project near Wellington.

Growth of the New Zealand wind industry is reflecting growth in the global wind industry. A recent report from the United Nations Environment Programme shows that in 2007, wind attracted more investment than nuclear or hydro, and accounted for more new generation capacity in Europe than any other power source. Over 100GW of wind energy is installed worldwide, and this is expected to grow to 240GW by 2014.

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