Bullish predictions for NZ wind
A report by Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL) has suggested that by 2030, wind farms could contribute $156 million a year to the NZ economy, support up to 1400 jobs and generate 3500 megawatts of power
The predictions are based on the New Zealand Wind Energy Association’s (NZWEA) forecasts of industry growth over the next two decades. The NZWEA assumptions are more optimistic than the forecasts made by the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) in its energy outlook statement.
The MED forecasts that wind will generate more than 4000 gigawatt hours over the next 18 years, whereas the NZWEA’s predictions are that more than 12,000GWh will be produced in that time.
At present, New Zealand has 16 operating wind farms with a capacity of 632MW. The farms employee 380 workers and contribute $65 million to gross domestic product.
New Zealand wind farms account for about 4% of New Zealand’s electricity generation, enough to power approximately 180,000 homes annually. Meanwhile, Small windfarm developers in the South Island say they are filling the void left by the dumping of big power projects.
In January, Meridian Energy shelved plans for a two-billion dollar windfarm in central Otago, then last month Contact Energy ended plans for new dams on the Clutha River.
A central Otago company, Pioneer Generation, will officially open a nine-turbine windfarm at Mount Stuart this week and has another planned for Bluff and seven other sites under testing.
And the manager of the Blueskin Energy Project, Scott Willis, says the dream of a four windmill cluster to make his area’s thousand homes self-sufficient seems more possible now.
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