Thursday, March 17, 2005

New Zealand Wind Power Growing Fast

Wind is NZ's fastest growing energy industry: Glennie

15.03.05 4.50pm

The wind industry is New Zealand's fastest growing energy industry and recorded growth of 360 per cent in the past year, a power summit in Auckland was told today.

Wind Energy Association chief executive James Glennie said the last 12 months had also seen 130 megawatts (MW) of capacity commissioned.

Moreover, 70MW of new capacity had been commissioned in the past four months, and 170MW was currently in the consent process.

"There is today about 1000MW of wind energy developments that could be built at prices very competitive with any other form of generation, and without subsidies," Mr Glennie said in his speech notes for the Power Summit in Auckland today.

"Most importantly, however, the cost of electricity produced from a wind turbine is largely known for a 20 year period from the day the turbine is switched on," he said.

"The opposite is true for fossil fuels which are being traded on an increasingly volatile market."

"When it comes to stability of price and, increasingly, supply, wind is the winner hands down,"

However, he cautioned that while wind energy could be efficiently produced, it did not hold "all the answers."

Mr Glennie said the energy industry in New Zealand needed to stop its in-fighting and look to a balanced energy generation portfolio, one that involved hydro, wind, geothermal, coal, natural gas and maybe others as well.

"What has changed is that wind energy can now compete on every front with any other form of electricity generation, and we plan on doing just that," Mr Glennie said.

He added that New Zealand has the best wind energy resource in the world and could produce electricity at prices second to none.