ENERGY

Minister welcomes wind energy milestones

Friday 15 June 2012, 3:35PM
By Phil Heatley
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Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley has welcomed two significant wind energy milestones today - Global Wind Day.

Meridian Energy announced today that construction on the Mill Creek wind farm north of Wellington will start soon, and the new Mt Stuart wind farm in the Clutha District has been officially opened.

Global Wind Day is an annual international celebration of wind energy in 40 countries around the world.

“New Zealand’s wind resources are among the best in the world, and the role of wind energy for electricity generation is steadily increasing,” Mr Heatley said.

“Unlike many countries, New Zealand’s wind energy does not require subsidies. It is one of the cheapest sources of generation for New Zealand to develop.

"The Government is focused on renewables, the exploration of our natural resources, energy efficiency and the pricing of carbon as we manage our environmental responsibilities and economic opportunities,” he said.

“Renewables already play a significant role in our energy mix with 77 per cent of New Zealand's electricity coming from renewable sources last year. The Government has a target of 90 per cent by 2025.

“Wind already generates nearly 5 per cent of New Zealand’s electricity. That figure is set to increase with the decision to build the Mill Creek wind farm, and also that about 2400 megawatts of other wind projects are already consented,'' the Minister said.

The $169 million Mill Creek project in the Ohariu Valley is a 26-turbine, 60-megawatt wind farm which will generate enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of 30,000 average New Zealand homes a year.