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Wind industry supports West Wind consent

11 July 2005

Wind industry supports West Wind consent application

The New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) today gave its full support to Meridian Energy's resource consent application, filed on Friday, for a 210 MW wind farm in Wellington, and urged all New Zealanders to have their say on the project.

NZWEA Chief Executive, James Glennie, said that West Wind had been extensively investigated, and was one of the world's best sites for generating electricity from the wind.

He said research indicated that the proposal was supported by the majority of Wellingtonians. The project would benefit the economy and environment and would be developed by a company with the resources and the track record to ensure it succeeds.

"The NZWEA hopes that Wellingtonians will look beyond the vocal minority opposition view and consider the broader regional and national interests when considering this project.

"We have to listen to local community groups, however we cannot afford to ignore the needs of the millions of other electricity consumers around the country or the needs of our natural environment," he said.

Mr Glennie said declining gas reserves and increasingly volatile oil and LNG prices were a reality, and the risks posed by human-induced climate change, dismissed by only a minority now, were recognised by all parties at last week's G8 summit in Scotland.

"The West Wind project and many other similar wind developments nationwide, will be part of the solution to these complex challenges. By generating more of our electricity from the wind we can gain leverage from New Zealand's enviable hydro generation assets and limit New Zealand's dependence on coal and gas fired thermal generation.

"This means that we will be able to reduce dry year risk while at the same time decreasing our exposure to increasingly expensive and volatile international hydrocarbon prices.

"New Zealand needs more renewable, sustainably generated electricity. Wellington, as the nation's capital and the region with one of the world's best wind resources, has an opportunity to show real leadership in this field," he said.

"This is a world class site in terms of both the wind resource and its location right next to a major demand centre. It truly has the potential to be one of the best wind farms in the world and something that Wellingtonians and indeed New Zealanders, can be proud of."

In 2004 the wind industry was the fastest growing energy sector in New Zealand with growth of 360 per cent. 200 MW of new capacity has been consented in the last seven months and 607 MW, including the West Wind project, is currently in the resource consent process.

The NZWEA has more than 60 members including some of New Zealand's largest electricity generators, retailers and distribution companies.

ENDS

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