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Wind Power Valuable In Right Applications

Wind Power Valuable In Right Applications

Wind Power has the potential to contribute a great deal to New Zealand’s electricity needs if it is used in the right way, says Democrats for Social Credit Environment spokesman Richard Prosser.

Mr Prosser said that estimates as to how much of New Zealand’s electricity requirements could be met by wind farming varied from as little as 5% to as much as 40%, and therein lay the problem.

“Both extremes are probably correct, depending on how hard the wind is blowing, and over how much of the country, at any given time,” he said. “Network engineers report enormous difficulties in assimilating wind generation into the grid, because wind power tends to arrive unannounced in large helpings, and disappear again just as suddenly, irrespective of national or regional demand loadings.”

Mr Prosser felt that wind might possibly best be utilised as an indirect contributor to electricity generation. “It may prove better to use wind power to pump water up to high-altitude holding dams when the wind is blowing, and release that water steadily to feed hydro generation according to demand,” he said.

Existing wind turbines also presented problems associated with noise and visual pollution, said Mr Prosser. “We should be mindful of the potential adverse effects on tourism of despoiling the natural landscape with wind farms, and we need to focus on developing silent turbine blades, and tower designs which will minimise pressure wave formation, in order to protect the physical and mental health of people living downwind from the turbines,” he said. “Perhaps a larger number of smaller wind turbines located in or near urban areas, where visual and noise effects will generate a smaller and less noticeable footprint, may be better than a smaller number of large turbines in rural areas.”

Mr Prosser said Democrats for Social Credit favoured a progressive and considered approach to wind power development. “Make no mistake, wind is a clean, free, renewable resource, and one which we should be harvesting,” he said. “But it is not without its own difficulties, and we should plan carefully for the long-term beneficial utilisation of this energy source.”


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