Wind energy - the logical choice

Tuesday 8 April 2008, 2:42PM
By New Zealand Wind Energy Association

“Wind energy is making a growing contribution to New Zealand’s energy mix,” says Fraser Clark, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Wind Energy Association

Delegates at the New Zealand Wind Energy Conference heard today that renewable energy is central to the future of New Zealand and global energy supplies.

“Wind energy is working in the UK, it can work in New Zealand, too,” says Maria McCaffery, CEO of the British Wind Energy Association, speaking at the New Zealand conference. Like New Zealand, the UK has a strong wind resource located long distances from demand. “Increasing renewable generation requires good planning mechanisms and an enabling national grid. In addition, the cost of carbon must be factored into investment decisions.”

“New Zealand can learn from the British planning experience. We need clear criteria and timely decisions regarding proposed wind farm developments,” says Mr Clark.

The UK’s target is for 15% of all energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. “Investment in wind is leading the global rise in renewable generation,” says Mr Clark. Global wind energy capacity is 94 gigawatts. By 2012 wind generation capacity is predicted to increase nearly threefold. “Here in New Zealand, our wind energy capacity will grow 50 percent by the end of 2009, to a total 486 MW – but the potential for wind generation is much greater.”

Renewable generation is ideal for meeting growing electricity demand as it causes minimal harm to the environment. Increased amounts of wind energy can be combined with our existing hydro resources help meet the daily fluctuations in demand, and geothermal can be developed for baseload generation.

The conference continues tomorrow, with a look at how greater amounts of wind energy can be integrated into the national grid.