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Nga Hau E Wha: Wind energy potential for Mâori

Ngâ Hau E Wha: Wind energy potential for Mâori

Auckland, Wednesday 2 July, 2003: Greenpeace releases a landmark report today, Winds of Change – Exploring New Zealand’s phenomenal wind resource and options to drive renewable energy development.

Winds of Change outlines the impressive potential for generating electricity by using the energy of Tawhirimatea, as part of our ongoing climate change campaign. “Aotearoa is the Saudi Arabia of wind”, said Climate Change campaigner Vanessa Atkinson.

In 2001, EECA outlined 13 general areas around the country that have excellent potential for wind farms because of their strong and consistent winds. “Greenpeace believe these areas will be of interest to local hapu and iwi. Some economically depressed areas such as the Far North and East Coast could benefit from harnessing ngâ hau e wha with positive benefits for local Mâori communities,” said Ms Atkinson. “EECA estimates that we could meet our current electricity generation needs three times over by harnessing New Zealand’s wind energy potential.”

Winds of Change also takes a look at how the US Tribal Energy Program “promotes tribal energy self-sufficiency and fosters employment and economic development on America’s tribal lands through financial and technical assistance”. Using a series of government sponsored projects, a variety of Native American tribes across the US have effectively installed renewable energy technologies on their lands.

“In 2013, many country line services will be disconnected from the main grid throughout Aotearoa. This will affect marae and rural communities nationwide. In some areas wind farms may be a good solution, giving electricity independence and possibly receiving rental from lands with wind turbines on them if arrangements are made with electricity companies to feed back into the national grid.”

Unlike other forms of electricity generation, 97% of land with wind farms is available for other uses such as farming. Using wind turbines to generate electricity employs many more people per unit of electricity generated, in manufacturing, construction and ongoing maintenance, compared to coal-fired power stations.

Much of our electricity is generated by unsustainably burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas and the Government plans to build more of these fossil fuel generation plants. Fossil fuels release carbon dioxide the main greenhouse gas contributing to dangerous climate change.

“Wind is free, it doesn’t pollute, it doesn’t destroy important conservation areas, it doesn’t need to be mined and transported, it doesn’t give off greenhouse gases - and Aotearoa has it in abundance. Wind is the fuel of the future”.

“The Government should develop a long term energy strategy so Aotearoa can be running on electricity from 100% renewable sources by 2020. Initiatives such as mandatory renewable energy targets, changes to the electricity market and financial incentives are urgently needed to drive renewable energy development. That is what has happened overseas and that is what needs to happen here too”, said Ms Atkinson.

Contacts: Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Vanessa Atkinson 021 565 165 or Greenpeace Communications Officer Dean Baigent-Mercer 021 790 817 Winds of Change is online at www.greenpeace.org.nz

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