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Report Underlines Huge Wind Energy Potential

Report Underlines Huge Wind Energy Potential, Says Meridian

State-owned electricity generator and retailer Meridian Energy says the report released today on the integration of wind energy underlines the huge potential of this country's wind resource. Meridian Energy Chief Executive Keith Turner says the report, Wind Energy Integration in New Zealand, reinforces Meridian's own views on the role that could be played by wind energy in meeting this country's future electricity needs.

New Zealand has a fantastic wind resource that has the potential to provide a large proportion of our increasing electricity demand for the foreseeable future.

"This study is a useful contribution to understanding the technical issues around wind energy development, and shows that there are no technical limitations to realising its potential for at least 30 years."

Dr Turner says geographical dispersion of windfarm development and a strong national grid are the keys to meeting the challenges of system integration. "New Zealand¹s large installed hydro capacity provides the ideal complement to new, large-scale development of wind energy. To put it simply, when the wind blows we can preserve our hydro storage, and when the wind stops, we can quickly bring our hydro plant into play."

Dr Turner says 35 percent penetration of wind energy referred to in the report would equate to installed capacity of more than 2,000 megawatts, while a 20 percent market share would represent some 8,000 gigawatt hours. Meridian owns and operates the country's largest windfarm, the 90 megawatt Te Apiti development in the Manawatu.

Dr Turner says the experience with Te Apiti has demonstrated that wind energy projects can be developed in such a way as to accommodate local community sensitivities, and achieve widespread public support.

"The company has resource consent to build a 70 MW windfarm at White Hill in Southland, and is actively monitoring other sites around the country, which show major potential for windfarm development.

Te Apiti has set the standard, and we are confident we can build on this success so that more New Zealanders are able to benefit from this abundant, renewable and clean energy source," said Dr Turner.


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