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Govt supports two new wind farms with Kyoto credit

Govt supports two new wind farms with Kyoto credits

The Government has agreed to help the development of two proposed new wind farms by giving them credit for the clean energy they would produce.

By allocating climate change "carbon credits" to the proposed farms the Government will help ensure they are economically viable, Energy Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

The projects are TrustPower's proposed 36 megawatt (MW) extension of its existing 32MW Tararua wind farm and a new 40-80MW wind farm proposed by Meridian. They would roughly triple New Zealand's current wind generation capacity of just under 40MW.

"This is a way for the Government to support the development of renewable energy by making use of the opportunities created by the Kyoto Protocol," Mr Hodgson said. "These wind farms could be commissioned in 2004 and 2005, helping to meet New Zealand's need for new electricity generation capacity in a sustainable way."

Under its climate change policies the Government plans to use some of New Zealand's carbon credits to recognise the climate change benefits of new renewable energy sources. A Projects mechanism to enable this is being developed and will be trialled later this year.

"These two proposals have come in ahead of the Projects mechanism, but they show how climate change policy is intended to work," Mr Hodgson said.

"Electricity from these wind farms would avoid some gas or coal-fired generation, with its associated greenhouse gas emissions. That is clearly in New Zealand's interests, but the initial costs mean that the wind farms would probably not proceed without the credits the Government is offering. Providing the credits therefore helps us meet both our climate change and our energy security objectives."

Promissory notes for Kyoto Protocol emission units would be allocated to the companies depending on the final amount of generation involved. Over the Protocol's first commitment period 2008-2012, the wind farms could deliver emissions reductions of up to 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

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