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“Wind energy’s positive contribution to New Zealand is growing as good progress is made with several projects,” says New Zealand Wind Energy Association Chief Executive Fraser Clark, welcoming Meridian Energy’s announcement that it will begin construction of its 64 megawatt (MW) Te Uku Wind Farm, near Raglan.
“Te Uku will be built ahead of other consented thermal and geothermal electricity generation projects – a clear indication that wind farms can generate low-cost electricity that is competitive with other technologies.”
Te Uku will be the first wind farm in the upper North Island. “It will improve security of supply to the local community and provide a new source of generation near a major demand centre,” says Mr Clark.
“Nationally, growth in wind generation will help to improve security of supply during dry years by reducing reliance on hydro generation. In addition there are long-term economic benefits from the development of climate-resilient infrastructure and the use of a natural resource that provides fuel supply and price certainty.”
This week Windflow Technology and Mighty River Power’s 12.5 MW Long Gully wind farm received consent and Meridian Energy announced all 62 turbines are operational at its 142 MW Project West Wind.
“These projects demonstrate that wind farms of all sizes create important benefits for New Zealand,” says Mr Clark.
With all turbines operating at Project West Wind, New Zealand’s wind energy capacity nears 500 MW. It will grow to 575 MW once Te Uku and the other wind farms currently under construction are completed. Globally, wind energy capacity was over 120,000 MW (120 gigawatts) at the beginning of 2009.
“With developers seeking consent for over 2,000 MW of wind energy capacity, New Zealand stands to benefit further from its world-class wind energy resource. But to do so it requires a stable and positive energy, climate change and RMA policy environment,” concludes Mr Clark.