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National benefits of wind farms

8 September 2005

National benefits of wind farms reflected in Awhitu consent

The New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) today said Environment Court consent for Genesis Energy’s Awitu Wind Farm was strong recognition of the national benefits of wind farm developments, and was an important step in the ongoing development of wind farms in New Zealand.

NZWEA Chief Executive, James Glennie, said “the Environment Court has recognised that the Genesis proposal will benefit the nation. It is significant because although the Court thought there would be limited impact on the coastal character, this was not a barrier to the development,” he said.

Mr Glennie said he was pleased the Environment Court ruling recognised the many advantages associated with the proposal, and with wind farm developments in general.

“The ruling noted that New Zealand needs a more diverse electricity generation base and that more thermal generation will have a number of adverse effects, including contributing to climate change and depleting fossil fuel resources.

“This ruling also recognises the benefits of wind energy developments on the security of electricity supply, the reduction in transmission losses, increased supply reliability and the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

The Court ruling noted that: “As a matter of national energy policy, New Zealand is pursuing options for renewable energy. Wind is a source of renewable energy which is plentiful but which is best able to be utilised in certain locations.”

Mr Glennie said while he was pleased that the Court had focused on the national benefits of the proposal, he welcomed the finding that local issues can also be managed.

“In particular I am pleased that the Court has ruled that the issue of noise is properly dealt with by the New Zealand noise standard,” he said.

Mr Glennie said the court process had been a long one for Genesis Energy but, in the end, the merit of the proposal had prevailed.

In 2004 the wind industry was the fastest growing energy sector in New Zealand with growth of more than 300 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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