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Government announcement delights wind farm CEO

December 11 2006

Government announcement delights wind farm CEO, who says NZ could generate 100% of its electricity from renewables

The Government’s strong backing for wind farming, outlined in the national energy strategy announced today, has been welcomed by the CEO of NZ Windfarms, Chris Freear.

“We aredelighted with the emphasis on wind farming. It has been blowing a gale in these islands since before the moa and it isn’t going to stop – the wind is free, non-polluting and relatively easy to harvest.”

He said the announcement reflected the reality that New Zealand could become carbon neutral in the future, as the Prime Minister has called for.

“Indeed, my challenge for New Zealand is that we generate all of our electricity from renewables – wind, coupled with hydro and geothermal generation, makes this prospect entirely feasible.”

Mr Freear said that while it was clear the wind was an abundant, economic and reliable fuel that would allow New Zealand to grow its economy, the catch was where to locate wind farms.

“The debate goes on – and quite rightly. Wind turbines will always be visible on a skyline, because that’s where the wind is. What’s important is that we decide which locations we want to keep in their natural state and which ones we are happy to modify.

“It’s pleasing to us, our investors and our business partners that today’s announcement provides for an easier process in deciding locations and building wind farms. Fortunately, we are blessed with so many windy hills in this country that there are many choices of locations.”

Mr Freear added that NZ Windfarms favoured having a greater number of smaller wind farms, providing for geographic diversity in addition to generating an appropriate amount of energy for the community in which the wind farm was to be located.

NZ Windfarms is the only pure wind farming company listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZAX). It was established in 2002 to develop economically feasible wind farms and sell the electricity generated. Te Rere Hau wind farm, near Palmerston North, is the first in a portfolio of wind farms that NZ Windfarms is developing and will operate. Te Rere Hau is an $80 million wind farm on land that will continue to be farmed for mixed cattle and sheep grazing. The first stage of the wind farm is complete and exporting electricity to the regional grid.

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