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Wind-Turbine Performance Exceeds Expectations


Windflow Technology Confident of the Future

Windflow Technology's WF500 wind-turbine is performing above expectations according to the company's Chief Executive, Geoff Henderson.

"The WF500 is operating more efficiently than expected in all wind speeds, and its cut-in wind speed is closer to 5 m/s than the expected 6 m/s," said Mr Henderson. "The machine's actual construction costs and technical performance strengthen our confidence that the machine is commercially competitive."

The Christchurch-based chief executive officer of Windflow Technology Ltd and his team have been monitoring the performance of their pre-production unit at Gebbies Pass since its installation two months ago.

"The onset of more seasonal higher winds during the spring will allow testing at optimum levels," said Mr Henderson, "But so far, the unexpectedly high energy output indicates that the windmill design is working far better than we had predicted."

The Company has predicted a price of between 6 and 6.5 c/kWh for its wind power. According to figures released recently by the Ministry of Economic Development, of all New Zealand's generation options, only geothermal is likely to maintain price parity with wind power over the next 20 years. Coal for example, is predicted to cost between 7.5 and 10.9 c/kWh (including the proposed carbon charge), while hydro will remain at 8.5 c/kWh.

According to Mr Henderson, wind power generation can be developed quickly and incrementally, whereas most other sources require longer lead times and major capital investments.

"Windflow's forward planning is based on its commercially competitive machine gaining just 12 per cent of the predicted market for wind-power in New Zealand," Mr Henderson said, "The effect of this is that in about 20 years time Windflow machines will have an installed capacity of 500 MW the approximate equivalent of the Clyde Dam or 5% of present generation. The wind-turbines will be sited in several wind-farms throughout New Zealand with a total area similar to Lake Dunstan (26 sq. km), but unlike hydro-power, 97 per cent of that area will remain available for its original use."

The report of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) on New Zealand's Wind Energy Potential states, "the total long-term potential has been assessed to be in the order of 100,000 gigawatt hours per year, three times our present generation. This assumes that 1 per cent of the land area in New Zealand would be suitable for wind farming."

According to Mr Henderson, twelve regions have been identified throughout New Zealand where wind-farms could be established. Some are coastal, others like Kaimai, Manawatu and North Canterbury are inland. The effect of wind-farm development to the scale envisaged by EECA (300% of present generation) would be to use a net area of land less than the area of Lake Benmore (75 sq. km).

Major players in the energy industry are throwing their weight behind wind-power development, Mr Henderson said. Recently, one leading generator stated "wind and hydro are highly complementary" and wind-power "has the potential to provide more than one-fifth of New Zealand's power needs in the coming decades."

As progress continues with the monitoring and fine-tuning of Windflow Technology's pre-production machine, this promising Christchurch company is emerging as a significant player in the field of energy production.

- ends

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