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Wind holds the key to cushioning energy shock

1 November 2005

Wind holds the key to cushioning energy shock

The New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA), today said wind energy could substantially contribute to mitigating the effects on New Zealand of rising thermal fuel prices.

Speaking in support of Meridian Energy’s application to build a 210 MW wind farm at Makara, NZWEA Chief Executive James Glennie told the resource consent hearing that the world was entering a new era of higher energy prices and less secure supply.

“Global oil and gas supplies are becoming increasingly expensive amid a scenario of rapidly growing demand and reduced levels of new discoveries. New Zealand now has an opportunity to further develop our substantial renewable resources to cushion ourselves from the global energy price shock which is already occurring,” he said.

Mr Glennie said moves to import fossil fuels, such as LNG, for electricity generation would increase the current account deficit, lead to higher electricity prices and reduce New Zealand’s energy independence.

“New Zealand faces major decisions in terms of our energy future. We can either pin our hopes (and our electricity prices) on international oil and gas markets and import more of our energy. Alternatively, we can harness the wind and invest in a clean, reliable, tremendously popular and price competitive energy supply for this and future generations,” he said.

As an example, each one of the wind turbines proposed for the Makara site could avoid the need for about $1 million worth of LNG imports every year.

Mr Glennie said the Meridian application was important to New Zealand’s energy future.

“The Makara site has one of the best wind resources in the world. The site is close to a major load centre and will reduce electricity losses associated with the transmission of electricity from other parts of the country.

“This is a strategically important application as there is no major electricity generation in the lower North Island. The site’s proximity to the capital city will also reduce electricity lost as heat in transmission through the national grid,” he said.

Mr Glennie said the West Wind application was an opportunity for Wellington to develop a strategic asset with clear benefits to the nation. In doing so, Wellington would be harnessing the abundant wind resource for which it was famous.

“Wind energy in New Zealand has incredible potential to produce reliable, clean and affordable energy. With our world-class hydro systems and strong wind resource, New Zealand has the opportunity to be a global leader in sustainable energy.

“The Meridian application is an important step along this path. When considering this project, I hope the City Council agrees with the vast majority of New Zealanders who support wind energy,” said Mr Glennie.


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