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Wind Energy Association challenges wind myths

Wind Energy Association challenges wind myths

The New Zealand Wind Energy Association’s new website, www.windenergy.org.nz, brings together information about the wind energy industry, the potential for wind energy in NZ and a discussion of some issues surrounding wind farm developments.

“It is important that the benefits and effects of proposed wind farms are discussed by local residents and affected communities, but misinformation and a lack of reliable information often distorts these public discussions,” says NZWEA Chief Executive Fraser Clark.

“Windenergy.org.nz provides information that will help inform these discussions.

“There often appears to be tension between New Zealand’s desire for reliable, sustainable energy and the concerns of people who live near proposed developments. Many of these concerns arise from lack of access to reliable information about wind energy.

“For example, developers often run into the argument that there is no point in building wind farms as they do not contribute to meeting electricity demand ‘when we need it most’ during times of peak demands.

“Such arguments miss a crucial point: the time we ‘most need power’ is whenever we switch on a light or appliance. The challenge in operating the New Zealand electricity system is not just how to meet peaks in demand. Rather it is how to manage energy supplies so that electricity generation can be continually matched to demand, regardless of the time of day, season or level of demand. Using wind energy when it is available – which is most of the time – allows us to store more water in our hydro lakes. This water acts like a battery, giving us more capacity to meet daily demand peaks, accommodate wind variability or substitute for thermal generation to meet normal demand.

“Another myth that is frequently raised is that developers are only interested in wind farms because they will receive carbon credits. The simple fact is that new wind farms are not eligible to receive carbon credits,” says Mr Clark.

A few wind farms received credits under the Ministry’s Projects to Reduce Emissions Scheme in 2003 and 2004. Since then there has been no scheme that awards carbon credits or any subsidy to New Zealand wind farms.

“Wind farms are being built because they can generate electricity at a price that is competitive with other forms of generation, not because they receive carbon credits or other subsidies.”

Windenergy.org.nz is an excellent resource for people who want to find out the facts about wind energy. “Each proposed wind farm needs to be considered on its own merits. The information on our website will help people consider the benefits and effects of a proposed development and decide for themselves whether to support it,” concludes Mr Clark.

ENDS

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