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Support for Community Owned Wind Turbines Welcomed

SEANZ: Support for Community Owned Wind Turbines Welcomed

“Community support for sustainable energy systems continues to be strong but there are still considerable barriers to community ownership of local renewable energy systems,” said Dr Tony Bittar, chairman of the Sustainable Electricity Association New Zealand (SEANZ, seanz.org.nz). Dr Bittar was commenting on the release of the “Wind power, people, and place”, a report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE).

The PCE’s report notes that there are opportunities for smaller-scale distributed wind farms to be community owned, and when well-located can increase the public acceptance support levels for small wind farms. Local wind farms also offer an opportunity to increase local jobs and energy security by strengthening the local electricity network.

“SEANZ agrees with the PCE's conclusion that there are considerable opportunities for smaller scale wind turbines, but there are also considerable barriers that inhibit smaller wind power proposals and participants, and that central government should be working on removing these barriers" said Dr Bittar.

"However, SEANZ believes that removing barriers to local, small-scale electricity generation from wind, sun and rain sources is not sufficient to make them viable. International experience has demonstrated that what is needed is the introduction of a simple support mechanism, such as providing householders, farmers and communities with a “feed-in-tariff” for the purchase of all electricity generated and supplied to the grid. I am confident that such a system would help arrest the extremely unfortunate slide backwards in the proportion of renewable electricity generation in New Zealand” concluded Dr Bittar.

ENDS

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