New Zealand Predict Wind Power Growth

New Zealand’s newly released Energy Outlook 2011 reveals wind energy development is one of two renewable energy sources which will dominate New Zealand’s energy future.

The New Zealand Energy Outlook 2011 presents long-term forecasts of energy supply, demand, prices and green house gas emissions. The report predicts that renewable energy will make up half of the country’s overall energy supply by 2030, while investment will focus on mainly geothermal and wind power.

Wind power estimates are pegged to increase from the current 622MW to around 1410MW, and produce up to 10% of the overall energy supply by 2030.

The NZ Energy Outlook 2011 is an update on the same analysis done in 2010.It incorporates new and revised energy data, and projections are intended to inform the national energy debate.

The updated ‘Reference Scenario’ models future energy usage if business continues as usual. It predicts the following renewable energy trends:

· In 2030, renewable energy sources provide 50% of the primary energy supply

· Electric vehicles (EV’s) and biofuels remain minor players contributing less than 2% of total transport energy demand in 2030

· Geothermal energy and wind farm generation dominates new generation investment

Eric Pyle, CEO of the Wind Energy Association, expects wind farm generation to be even more prolific than the outlook suggests, estimating a 20% contribution by 2030.

Pyle said there has been a downward trend in operating and maintenance costs, and wind turbines have become increasingly reliable. With this is mind; the country’s wind energy forecasts will look even rosier in years to come. Pyle said investigations into wind farms in NZ show installations are among the lowest cost form of new generation, and this is in line international trends.

Nigel Parry at the New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) quotes research, done by Infometrix, which shows each New Zealander will make a saving of US$390 per year with more wind power. The Infometrix study based this finding on a scenario where 20% of electricity came from wind energy by 2030, compared to 8% by 2030 used in ‘business as usual’ model contained in the Energy Outlook 2011 Report.