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Overwhelming support for wind energy

Overwhelming support for wind energy

“New Zealand has a huge and clearly identified potential for wind energy – and it is clear that most New Zealanders would like to see this resource harnessed for electricity generation,” said Chair of the New Zealand Wind Energy Association Gerry Te Kapa Coates today, welcoming new research from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

EECA’s research shows that New Zealanders overwhelming favour renewable energy for electricity generation, with 88% of people expressing support for wind energy  the most favoured form of sustainable power.

The survey showed support reduced slightly when respondents were asked about a wind farm they could see or hear from their home.

“Perceptions of wind farms are often influenced by the effects of older style wind turbines and wind farms. The modern wind turbines used in New Zealand are quiet – I’ve stood underneath them and had a conversation without raising my voice. From a few hundred meters away the sound from turbines will be no more than the sound level in the average living room – if you can hear them at all over the sound of the wind,” said Mr Coates.

Current concerns about low lake levels highlight the risks associated with renewable energy. “No form of generation is without some form of risk that it won’t be there when we need it,” argues Mr Coates. “Over the past six months both thermal and renewable generation have not always been available, leading to high prices and supply concerns. One way to manage such risks is to make use of a variety of energy sources in different places to generate electricity.

“New wind farms in a variety of locations across New Zealand, such as the Waikato, Wellington and Central Otago, will provide New Zealand with an additional and predictable energy source.” At the moment, wind energy only provides a very small portion of New Zealand’s electricity, almost all of which is generated in the Manawatu.

“If wind energy is used when it is available, it gives electricity generators greater flexibility in how and when they use other energy sources – such as the water stored in hydro lakes. Every kilowatthour generated by a wind turbine is one that doesn’t have to come from hydro, coal or gas,” concludes Mr Coates


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