“Following a record year in 2009, New Zealand’s wind energy industry is proving its worth to New Zealand’s economy,” says New Zealand Wind Energy Association Chief Executive Fraser Clark, in the lead up to the 2010 New Zealand Wind Energy Conference, being held in Palmerston North this week.
“2009 saw many new wind energy records, including a new quarterly record with wind providing 4.9% of total generation (511 gigawatt-hours) in the December quarter,” says Mr Clark. “The industry is well on track for providing 20% of New Zealand’s electricity, and this growth will bring further economic benefits and opportunities.”
During 2009 a record 171 megawatts of capacity was installed at four wind farms, and annual generation reached 1456 gigawatt-hours (3.5% of generation). Wind farms are now operating or under construction in the Waikato, the Manawatu, Wellington, Marlborough, Central Otago and Southland.
“These wind farms make use of a free and reliable energy source – the wind – to generate competitive, low emission electricity,” notes Mr Clark.
“The price and reliability of our electricity supply remains a concern for New Zealanders. New Zealand’s wind energy industry plays an important role in ensuring New Zealanders have access to reliable and affordable electricity as our traditional energy sources – water and gas – become constrained.”
At the same time, the wind industry provides opportunities for businesses and jobs. The range of companies involved with the conference demonstrates the wealth of business opportunities available in wind energy. Over 35 companies are exhibiting at the conference – including New Zealand’s wind turbine suppliers, construction and engineering companies, consultancies and equipment suppliers of all kinds – from cables and electrical components to health and safety. The conference is an excellent opportunity for these companies and others in the industry to connect with and learn from each other.
Conference speaker Deion Campbell, Manager – Major Projects at TrustPower, will discuss the economic benefits wind energy brings to local economies – and the opportunities this creates for local businesses and jobs – using the development and operation of Stage 3 of Tararua Wind Farm, in the Manawatu, as a case study.
“Ten years ago, Vestas employed 2 people in Palmerston North, it now employs 38,” says Mr Cambpell. “I estimate that each year the wind industry spends about
$11 million with local businesses. Last year Vestas spent $2.4 million with 109 local companies in relation to Tararua Stage 3 alone.”
In the past year the wind energy industry has taken some important steps to ensure its growth continues in a sustainable fashion. The new Wind Farm Noise Standard will help to ensure the noise effects of wind farms are well managed. At the conference NZWEA will launch its Wind Farm Development Guidelines project, which set out to identify good practice across all aspects of wind farm development from site assessment to operation.
“This project will enable councils and communities to be confident that wind farms are being developed in line with good practice,” concludes Mr Clark.
About the NZ Wind Energy Conference
The annual NZ Wind Energy Conference is organised by the New Zealand Wind Energy Association. It is accompanied by a two-day trade exhibition.
Around 270 delegates are expected to attend the conference, coming from across New Zealand, Australia and overseas. 35 companies are sponsoring or exhibiting at the conference, including wind turbine suppliers Vestas, Siemens and Suzlon, and generators Mighty River Power and Meridian Energy.
This year the conference will be accompanied by the display of a 35-metre Vestas wind turbine blade outside the conference venue.
When and where
Palmerston North Convention Centre, 354 Main Street, Palmerston North.
9am Tuesday, 30 March, to 4.30pm Wednesday, 31 March
Pre-conference events and the official opening of the exhibition hall will be held on Monday, 29 March.
Media are welcome to attend the conference.
The New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) is an industry association that works towards the development of wind as a reliable, sustainable, clean and commercially viable energy source. We aim to fairly represent wind energy to the public, government and the energy sector. Our members include about 80 companies involved in New Zealand's wind industry, including electricity generators, wind farm developers, lines companies, turbine manufacturers, consulting firms, researchers and law firms. For more information visit www.windenergy.org.nz.