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Study recognises strong potential for wind energy

27 October 2005

Study recognises strong potential for wind energy

The New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) today said a new report from Transpower reinforced that a significant amount of wind energy could be developed in New Zealand in a short space of time.

NZWEA Chief Executive, James Glennie, welcomed the report’s acknowledgement of the potential of wind energy, and the importance of a flexible and robust national grid in its development.

“The integration of large-scale wind generation into New Zealand’s power system has moved beyond a point of academic curiosity to a matter of economic importance to the country.

“We believe wind energy can provide New Zealand with 20 per cent of our electricity in an affordable, reliable and environmentally sustainable fashion. We now need modern electricity infrastructure and modified rules which recognise this new form of generation,” said Mr Glennie.

The Transpower study, initiated by the Electricity Commission, is the second half of a two part study which looks at the impact of substantial amounts of wind generation in the Manawatu on the scheduling and dispatch of power into the electricity markets.

The study looks at how wind generation effects grid frequency, how the accuracy of wind forecasts effects system management and the impact of changing power flows across the grid as a result of varying turbine output.

“This was a timely study which looked at issues common to the wind industry across the world. New Zealand, with our extensive hydro capacity, is particularly well placed to manage the challenges that are created by the large scale integration of wind generation.

“The NZWEA particularly welcomes the recognition of the need for national wind forecasting. Knowing where New Zealand’s wind resources are, and when, is critical to the responsible development of wind energy,” said Mr Glennie.

Mr Glennie said the Transpower study had identified operational issues, associated with the rapid uptake of wind energy, which it believed were manageable.

“This report is an important contribution to the development of New Zealand’s wind industry. Wind can play a major role in meeting New Zealand’s electricity needs but, to deliver its potential, it needs to be carefully planned, based on the best data and supported by strong, modern infrastructure and updated electricity governance rules.”

In 2004 the wind industry was the fastest growing energy sector in New Zealand with growth of more than 300 per cent. 170 MW is currently installed and operating. 200 MW of new capacity has been consented in the last 12 months and just over 600 MW is currently in the resource process. The NZWEA has more than 60 members including some of New Zealand’s largest electricity generators and lines companies.

ENDS

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