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Afghanistan’s first wind farm wins NZ award

Afghanistan’s first wind farm wins major NZ industry award

afghan wind
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Media statement
For immediate release 12 December 2008

Afghanistan’s first wind farm wins major NZ industry award

The New Zealand experts who designed and installed Afghanistan’s first wind farm, were one of the winners at last night’s Sustainable Electricity Association Industry Awards for 2008.

Empower Consultants, which has worked on renewable energy projects in Afghanistan for the past 10 years and in many other developing countries, picked up the award for the largest small-scale wind installation.

The wind farm was formally opened last month by Afghanistan’s Vice President Ahmed Zia Massoud. It consists of 10 turbines and produces 75kW of electricity for government facilities in the Panjshir Valley (see attached photos).

“This award is a tribute to the skill and courage of Tony Woods and the team at Empower Consultants as well as Timaru-based Smart Energy which provided installation support,” said SEANZ Chairman Brendan Winitana. “They worked in the most demanding conditions, above the snowline, with difficult access up a steep, dirt road.

“Security was a big issue and before they could even start the project, mines had to be cleared. This was clearly not your typical remote, off-grid New Zealand installation. It required ingenuity at every stage as all the equipment had to be broken down for transport and installation.”

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Other winners in the Wind category included Ecoinnovation which recycles Fisher & Paykel Smart Drive washing machine motor parts, combined with Chinese turbine bodies and blades to build cost-effective and very reliable wind turbines.

“The use of recycled material is a great innovation,” said Mr Winitana. “The turbines have also proved effective in the most challenging conditions, remaining operational with winds gusting as much as 150km/h.”

In the solar photovoltaic category Elemental Energy picked up the award for largest installation. It is working with Genesis Energy on its renewable energy educational programme called Schoolgen (www.schoolgen.co.nz), and this year installed 2kW solar panels in 15 schools. The programme will be rolled out to 56 schools by 2010.

“This is a valuable educational initiative, spreading the renewable message to the consumers of tomorrow and I congratulate Elemental for helping to drive it.”

Mr Winitana said it was extremely satisfying to see the quality of innovation across all categories (see the full list of winners at the end of this statement).

“The Kiwi ‘can do’ spirit is alive and well in the small scale renewable electricity industry. It certainly augers well for our future as we look to build an industry based on clean, green renewable electricity and as we examine how to make the technology more attractive for the average household and business.

“So many other countries, including our neighbours Australia are seizing on the potential for this technology to contribute to their energy security and climate change goals. It is high time New Zealand embraced the opportunity.

“Over the next few months we will be working hard to develop our case to take to the new government.”



Small scale renewable electricity or distributed generation refers to compact technologies that generate electricity within or close to the domestic or commercial property where it is used or a commercial installation servicing a community through local lines.
• Photovoltaic solar power – special solar cells convert the sun’s energy directly into electricity.
• Small scale wind power – small turbines convert wind energy directly into electricity.
• Small scale hydro power – compact micro and mini hydro units convert the potential energy of water into electricity.
SEANZ members include:
Meridian Energy, Vector, Mighty River Power, Contact Energy, Sharp Corporation of NZ, Black Diamond Technology (BDT), Tyco Electronics, Industrial Research Ltd (IRL), Electricity Supply Industry Training Organisation (ESITO), University of Otago, Orion Group, BP Solar (Australia)

Sustainable Electricity Association New Zealand
Industry Awards for 2008

SEANZ Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Awards
Largest PV installation in 2008 (on-grid or off-grid). Winner: Elemental Energy for its cumulative annual rollout of PV for Genesis Energy’s Schoolgen initiative. Elemental has supplied a total of 15 x 2040 W (2.04kW) grid connect PV in 2008.

Most innovative approach for Solar PV (commercial or domestic). Winner: Industrial Research Ltd for their research on quantum dot technology which is fourth generation solar PV; to develop and commercialise a New Zealand based solar PV technology.

Excellence in design and implementation and customer satisfaction. Winner: Powersmart for the NIWA Head Office implementation of Evergreen Solar, 5.4kW Grid Connect.

SEANZ Wind Awards
Largest small wind up to 100kW. Winner: Empower Consultants Ltd 10 X 7.5kW (75kW) (Afghanistan) with installation support from Smart Energy. The project consists of 10 x 7.5kW Bergey turbines on 30m guyed lattice towers.

Most innovative application of small wind (commercial or domestic). Winner: Elemental Energy for installing one of its off-grid systems utilising the Selectronic PS1 inverter systems and Skystream 3.7 wind turbine for an off-grid client in what is a first of its kind worldwide.

Performance ‘in the field’ over the last 5 years. Winner: Ecoinnovation for its cost effective and reliable wind turbine made from common and recycled Smart Drive washing machine motor parts, Chinese turbine bodies and blades with the generator, bearings and electronics made and fitted in New Zealand.

SEANZ Micro Hydro Awards
Largest micro-hydro installation. Winner: Genkit Nelson for its Glazebrook Station and Hunting Lodge remote area hydro installation of 3.25kW. This off-grid micro-hydro system coupled with a battery bank of 48 1000 amp hour batteries and a three cylinder, 27 kW, single phase air cooled generator, providing enough power to run three contemporary homes.

Most innovative application of micro hydro (commercial or domestic). Winner: Ecoinnovation for its “we do it, we live it, we promote it, we make and recycle it” Smart Drive micro hydro systems which are installed throughout New Zealand, the UK and Europe. The turbine is over 60% recycled and the energy required to manufacture the turbine is from 100% renewable energy sources.

Performance ‘in the field’ over the last 5 years. Winner: Ecoinnovation.

Commitment to helping the industry
This award is presented by SEANZ to the individual that has contributed to the development of the industry for 2008.
• Winner: David Reid of Reid Technology

SEANZ Life Memberships Awarded to:
• Graeme Duder
• Bruce Page
Industry pioneers who have made a wonderful contribution to the sector in their many years of active work and commitment to renewables.

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