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Renewable Electricity NPS finds balance

NZWEA Media Release
12 April 2011

Renewable Electricity NPS finds balance

The New Zealand Wind Energy Association welcomes the National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation’s (NPS) recognition that the local, regional and national benefits of renewable generation must be important considerations in resource consent decisions.

The NPS was announced today by Environment Minister Nick Smith at the NZ Wind Energy Conference.

“Electricity is fundamental to our economy and well-being. New generation is required to meet growing electricity demand, and all options for meeting this demand come with some costs for the environment,” says Fraser Clark, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Wind Energy Association.

“Renewable generation such as wind farms have low overall environmental impacts, contribute to security of electricity supply and don’t create greenhouse gas emissions. However, the need to locate wind farms in elevated and exposed windy places means that some local effects are unavoidable and difficult to mitigate.

“The ongoing challenge in the consent process has been to find an appropriate balance between the numerous benefits of renewable generation and its local effects. The NPS will help decision makers find this balance while the framework set by the Resource Management Act will ensure projects continue to be developed in an environmentally responsible manner.

“Wind farm development is undertaken to a high standard, with a focus on achieving optimum environmental outcomes,” notes Mr Clark. For example, Meridian Energy received an award from Environment Waikato for its management of earthworks at Te Uku wind farm.

“The wind energy industry is committed to working with central and local government to implement the NPS and develop supporting standards and guidance. Such standards and guidance will reduce costs and increase certainty for all parties involved in the resource consent process.

“The industry is already showing leadership in developing guidance. NZWEA recently co-funded with EECA a review of the New Zealand Standard for managing noise from wind farms and is now leading a project that will describe good practice in wind farm development, including the best way to manage localised effects,” concludes Mr Clark.

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