Eminent engineer to lead New Zealand Wind Energy
Eminent engineer to lead New Zealand Wind Energy Association board
“Helping the wind industry fulfill its potential to supply an increasing amount of clean renewable energy to New Zealand homes and industry, fits in perfectly with my values” says Gerry Coates, the new Chair of the Board of the New Zealand Wind Energy Association.
Mr Coates is a consulting engineer, and past President of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand. In that role he led a task force that produced a report on how engineers can assist sustainability − by only using resources that will last over time. “Using more renewable wind energy is an essential step towards this more sustainable future”, he says. This aligns with Prime Minister Helen Clark’s recently stated aim for New Zealand “to be the first country which is truly sustainable – not by sacrificing our living standards, but by being smart and determined”. Mr Coates sees renewable energy as a key part of that strategy.
Total installed wind capacity in New Zealand is now 170 MW – enough to power 75,000 homes with another 200 MW under construction. This could increase to up to 2000 MW over the next 10 years with a number of projects either already consented or proposed.
Mr Coates is no stranger to renewable energy, having spent the last forty years as an electrical engineer working and consulting on energy issues in New Zealand. In his own consulting firm Wise Analysis Limited he has carried out work on renewable energy for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and the Industry Capability Network. More recently he was part of a team that peer reviewed a draft renewable energy strategy for Malta. He is also on the Boards of Land Transport New Zealand and the Centre for Advanced Engineering.
The previous Acting Chair of the New Zealand Wind Energy Association, Murray Kennedy,
said the Board was delighted they had been able to appoint someone of Mr Coates calibre and experience to head the New Zealand Wind Energy Association board. “He brings a level of governance experience, coupled with a technical understanding of the issues that is hard to beat.” With the recent appointment of Fraser Clark as Chief Executive, the organization is now fully staffed and expects to respond more fully to the growing demands of the wind industry in New Zealand.