Wind to keep power prices down - Positive signs for wind energy in latest NZ Energy Outlook, but it underestimates what wind can deliver

Monday 30 January 2012, 1:40PM
By New Zealand Wind Energy Association

There are positive signs for the wind industry in the latest New Zealand Energy outlook, with capacity forecast to more than double over the next 18 years. However the estimate undershoots the amount of wind farms that will be built according to Eric Pyle, CEO of the Wind Energy Association.

The outlook, published on thursday by the Ministry of Economic Development, estimates that wind farm capacity will increase from the current 622MW, to around 1,410MW and produce close to 10% of the country’s electricity by 2030.

“That’s great news for New Zealanders, as wind generated electricity keeps power bills down and helps with hydro lake levels,” says Eric Pyle. “But our analysis suggests that wind will be even more important than that, producing 20% of our electricity by then.”

According to Pyle, the outlook doesn’t take into account the lowering costs of wind power. “Investigation of wind farms in New Zealand shows that recent installations are already among the lowest cost form of new generation, and international studies reveal that the cost of wind is continuing to fall.”

“We are also a relatively young industry and increasing our understanding of how to make the most of our abundant wind resource,” he said. “We are developing better wind farms that can generate even cheaper renewable electricity.”

Using historical figures for wind farm costs does not reflect the reality of recent downwards trends, including operating and maintenance costs, states Eric Pyle. Wind turbines are now very reliable, something that has improved over the last ten years.

“We look forward to future versions of the Energy Outlook presenting wind in an even more favourable light as officials incorporate more up to date views on the true costs of wind generation.”



For further information please contact:

Nigel Parry, Communications Manager
New Zealand Wind Energy Association, Wellington
Tel: 04 499 5047 / 027 212 2296

Note to editors

Energy Outlook 2011 can be downloaded from the Ministry of Economic Development web site with this link;

Costs of wind energy in New Zealand, a Deloitte report 2011. See page 24 for comparative (historical) costs);

Trends in wind generation costs – 12% reduction in the next 5 years, Bloomberg New Energy Finance 2011.
The report also contains the following interesting quote;
"The public perception of wind power tends to be that it is environmentally-friendly, but expensive and intermittent. That is out-of-date - in the best locations [eg. New Zealand], [wind] generation is already cost-competitive with fossil fuel electricity, and that will be the case for the majority of new onshore turbines installed worldwide by 2016.


NZ Wind Energy Association is an industry body that supports the continuing 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 energy sector, including electricity generators, wind farm developers, lines companies, turbine manufacturers, consulting firms, researchers and law firms.

For more information visit