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Wind energy making a growing contribution

Wind energy making a growing contribution to electricity security

Media Release: New Zealand Wind Energy Association
9 April 2008

'There are no fundamental technical barriers to the integration of 20% wind energy into the electrical system in New Zealand.' says Charlie Smith, Executive Director of the US-based Utility Wind Integration Group, speaking at the NZ Wind Energy Conference in Wellington.

'The reliability of an electricity system can be enhanced by wind farms. For example, wind generation improves the way an electricity system responds after a fault.

'The geographic dispersion of wind farms results in a less variable supply of electricity. Extensive modeling studies have shown no credible single contingency leading to simultaneous loss of wind capacity in a broad geographical region.

'As windfarms are developed through out New Zealand we will see similar benefits here,' says Fraser Clark, CEO of the New Zealand Wind Energy Association. Most of New Zealands existing wind generation is based in the Manawatu, with additional windfarms in Southland and the Wairarapa. A wind farm is under construction near Wellington, and others are proposed in Southland, Otago, Hawkes Bay and the Waikato.

'Internationally, the effects of greater wind generation on a system are seen as challenging, but they can be managed,' says Mr Clark. 'Here in New Zealand we are developing a good understanding of what increasing wind generation will mean for our electricity system and the benefits it brings. Work that the Electricity Commission is undertaking shows that, like overseas, these effects are entirely manageable and not costly.'

Delegates at the conference heard that both the Labour and National parties, as well as the Electricity Commission, are supportive of developing more renewable generation in New Zealand. 'The 90% renewable electricity target is clearly achievable through developing significant amounts of wind energy,' says Mr Clark.

'Essentially, we know that more wind generation will be good for both New Zealands electricity security and environment. The challenge now is to ensure that the wind energy industry delivers these benefits to New Zealand.


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