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New Zealanders favour renewable energy growth

01 July 2004 Media Statement

New Zealanders favour renewable energy growth

An EECA study released today shows that New Zealanders overwhelmingly support wind energy and hydro electricity.

Wind power comes out top in the EECA commissioned survey, conducted by UMR research, of attitudes towards electricity generation options. Some 82 per cent of respondents approved or strongly approved of wind power. Hydro generation was the next most preferred option with 79 per cent approval while geothermal scored 67 per cent.

"Not only does this report show very strong support for wind developments overall, it indicates low levels of the 'not in my back yard' or NIMBY syndrome. When people were asked if they support a wind farm being built in their local area, support dropped to only 60 percent with only 18 per cent opposed. Only nine per cent did not want them even if they could not see or hear them," said Energy Minister and Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate Change, Pete Hodgson said.

Wind power is already set to grow four fold from around 40 MW to 160 MW in the year to next April. This growth is in part due to the government's Projects to Reduce Emissions programme under which six proposed wind farms are being awarded carbon credits.

The programme awards credits to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions that would not otherwise go ahead. A further six million credits were made available for a second round, to be run later this year, as part of Budget 2004.

"New Zealand has an abundant wind resource capable of producing about 20 per cent of New Zealand's electricity needs. The perceived main problem with wind, that it is unreliable, is not an issue in New Zealand. Wind and hydro are ideal complementary renewable power sources because when the wind does not blow, we effectively have electricity stored in our hydro lakes. This resource, coupled with high levels of public support for wind and renewable energy; plus government initiatives, will encourage many more developers to bring forward new plans," said Pete Hodgson.

ENDS

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