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Wind energy essential to NZ sustainability

13 March 2007

Wind energy essential to NZ sustainability

A leading international expert in renewable energy has warned New Zealand that it must set clear, defined targets for renewable energy if it wants to avoid an energy crisis in the near future.

Speaking to the Wind Energy Association conference in Wellington, Carl Weinberg told delegates harnessing New Zealand’s significant renewable wind energy resource was essential to become truly sustainable.

Mr Weinberg has been involved in the wind energy industry in California since its initial boom period during the 1980’s oil shock. His speciality is helping companies introduce renewable energy to their generation portfolio.

Mr Weinberg says many lessons can be learnt from the Californian experience.

Mr Weinberg said that it was admirable that New Zealand should aspire to be the first nation that’s truly sustainable and carbon neutral but the Energy Strategy would achieve nothing without set targets.

“In California we didn’t set clear targets early enough. It took the blackouts and resulting energy crisis in 2001 for us to really wake up.”

“New Zealand should not need a crisis like ours before it sets its own renewable targets.”

“We learnt our lesson the hard way,” Mr Weinberg said. “But fortunately we are now back on track. California knows that renewable wind energy is part of the solution for all our energy policy aims,” he said.

Mr Weinberg is involved in both Californian and national US energy policy development. He works with the US Department of Energy’s wind energy research and development programme, the Renewable Energy Policy Project and the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP).

The Wind Energy Association conference was opened by the Minister of Energy David Parker this morning at Te Papa and runs for two days.

ENDS

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