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Planning for a Safe Future at NZ Wind Energy Conference

Planning for a Safe Future at NZ Wind Energy Conference

The fundamentals of the electricity sector have remained the same for around 100 years. However, in the same way the Boeing 747 created a new pattern of international travel, new electricity technology is about to create unpredictable upheaval within the electricity sector. One part of smoothing the transition is the introduction of more wind generation onto electricity systems. One hundred wind turbines are currently being installed globally every working day.

The New Zealand Wind Energy Conference, Australasia’s premier conference for the wind energy industry, will focus on looking forward and supporting the electricity sector through this upheaval, with the theme Wind: A Safe Future.

“There are trillions of dollars of risk and opportunity globally with this level of change,” said Eric Pyle, Chief Executive of the NZ Wind Energy Association that runs the conference.

“The signs of change include the rapid growth of rooftop solar, grid scale battery storage products able to push thermal generation off electricity systems, financially distressed utility companies in Europe, and demand response markets. That doesn’t even take into account the way wind is going gang-busters around the world.”

Addressing the oncoming change at the NZ Wind Energy Conference will be keynote speakers:
• Michael T Eckhart, Global Head of Environmental Finance at Citi Corporate and Investment Banking, who will speak about 'Global Investment in Renewable Energy'.
• Dr Jenny Riesz, from the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets at the University of New South Wales who will present ‘Wind as the New Base Load’.
• Tom McDaniel, Global Manager Zero Harm and Human Performance for Siemens, who will examine ‘Enhancing Safety, Quality, and Reliability, while Achieving Measurable Results’.
• Chris Karamea Insley, from the Climate Change Iwi Leadership Group, who will discuss ‘Renewable Energy, Climate Change and Maori Development’.
• Manuela Huso, from the US Geological Survey who will examine ‘The Impact of Wind Energy on Wildlife’.
• Kobad Bhavnagri, Head of Australia at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, who will speak about ‘Change on its way - the future of the global energy sector’.

“There is an investment and strategy theme to this year’s conference,” said Mr Pyle. “We’re focusing on innovation and the future, and these keynote speakers are the perfect people to do that.”

“Mike Eckhart has a depth of experience that’s unparalleled and accessing his range of knowledge will provide benefits for delegates that will pay off in the near and long term. Mike will talk about what Citi, the investment banking giant, calls the ‘age of renewables’. He’s going to talk about how wind and solar are now competitive even in the US which has lower gas prices and less wind than New Zealand does,” said Mr Pyle.

“Dr Jenny Riesz has some fantastic research around getting electricity markets to 100% renewable and Kobad Bhavnagri has some of the best statistics available on renewable energy. We also have Chris Insley discussing how important sustainability is for Iwi and their commitment to renewable energy.”

“When you add Tom McDaniel’s world-leading work on practical health and safety and Manuela Huso’s research into keeping wildlife safe at wind farms, it becomes clear that this NZ Wind Energy Conference is really all about creating a safe future – strategically, financially, environmentally and for our workers.”

In addition to the keynote speakers, streamed sessions will address innovation in the wind sector worldwide. Specialist sessions on finance and policy for renewable energy, health and safety for heavy industry, and Australasian wind and wildlife, will feature.

The conference will also examine established themes of technological innovation and optimisation, operations and maintenance, new markets for wind development, and engaging communities.

“The aim is to explore fulfilling the wind energy industry’s potential while growing the local renewables sector to 90% of generation by 2025,” said Mr Pyle.

As part of the conference, a 40 metre long Siemens wind turbine blade will be parked outside Te Papa. The blade is the size of four buses parked nose to tail and will feature in a competition to post the best #selfiewithwindblade on Twitter.

The conference is accompanied by a trade exhibition, which attracts major turbine suppliers, generators, consultants and service and equipment suppliers.

NZ Wind Energy Conference
Wind: A Safe Future
14-16 April 2014
Te Papa, Wellington


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