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NZ celebrates Global Wind Day for the first time

Kiwis asked to embrace wind as New Zealand celebrates Global Wind Day for the first time

17 May 2011

Although you can't see the wind, you can feel its power.

Global Wind Day, 15 June, is Kiwis' opportunity to embrace wind, its power and potential. As wind is a key part of the energy supply chain, the New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) encourages New Zealanders to recognise the contribution that it makes to meeting the country's energy needs.

Fraser Clark, chief executive of NZWEA, says: "New Zealand is facing choices about where its future energy supplies come from, so now is the time to take note of how our electricity is made."

New Zealand has one of the best wind energy resources in the world, and Mr Clark says it is something Kiwis should be proud of. "As an energy resource, our wind is unsurpassed and our wind farms are among the top performers in the world. We're a leader in this field and our achievements in building wind farms that are economically competitive are recognised internationally. New Zealanders should be proud of that.

"On Global Wind Day, we're asking Kiwis to consider how wind contributes to our energy supplies. We need the ability to check rising electricity prices as traditional fuels become more expensive or constrained, as well as the ability produce electricity without creating greenhouse gas emissions. Wind addresses both of these issues, without changing how productive land is already used."

This year, New Zealand will celebrate Global Wind Day for the first time. There will be a range of opportunities to participate in Global Wind Day - more information will be posted on the Global Wind Day website in the coming weeks.

Currently the wind generates about 4 per cent of our electricity - or enough to power 10 per cent of homes. To achieve the government's target of 90 per cent renewable electricity by 2025, wind's contribution will need to grow five-fold to 20 per cent.

About New Zealand wind farms

New Zealand has 16 wind farms already operating or under construction. These wind farms:

* range in size from one turbine to 134 turbines

* combined have over 450 turbines ranging in generating capacity from 100 kilowatts to three megawatts

* have a combined installed capacity of over 600 megawatts - enough to power all the homes in the Wellington and Hawke's Bay regions.

Tararua, New Zealand's largest wind farm, is just south of Manawatu Gorge. Its 134 turbines have a combined capacity of 161 megawatts.

The Manawatu is the country's greatest wind-generating region, with three wind farms providing just over half of the total wind energy produced. Over 85 per cent of New Zealand's wind-made electricity comes from wind farms in the North Island.

About Global Wind Day

Global Wind Day is a worldwide event that occurs annually on 15 June. It is a day for discovering wind, its power and the possibilities it holds to change our world.

Thousands of individuals are involved in the production of energy from the wind, but for many people wind energy is a mystery. Global Wind Day is the day when you can explore the potential in our wind and find out everything you want to know about wind energy.

The European Wind Energy Association - EWEA - and the Global Wind Energy Council - GWEC - coordinate the Global Wind Day through a network of partners. The day started as a European one in 2007 and went global in 2009. On 15 June, thousands of public events are held all over the world.

About the New Zealand Wind Energy Association

New Zealand's participation in Global Wind Day is being coordinated by the New Zealand Wind Energy Association.

NZWEA is a membership-based industry association that works towards the development of wind as a reliable, sustainable, clean and commercially viable energy source. The Association ensures that New Zealand's world class wind energy resource is harnessed in a responsible and sustainable manner for generations to come.

NZWEA's members include over 75 companies involved in New Zealand's wind energy sector, including; generators and developers, Transpower and lines companies, wind turbine manufacturers, consultancies, financiers and legal firms.

For more information regarding Global Wind Day or the NZWEA, please visit www.windenergy.org.nz/events/global-wind-day .

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