NZ hails Meridian Energy s move to construct Mill Creek wind farm in Ohariu Valley

According to Eric Pyle, CEO of New Zealand Wind Energy Association, the industry is moving ahead as the world celebrates Global Wind Day.

Pyle said, We are also celebrating the official opening of New Zealand’s newest wind farm, the 7.65 MW Mt Stuart wind farm in the Clutha District. From the point of view of an investor, the major advantages of wind farms are that they can be built quickly and sized to fit both the developer s strategy and market requirements. This means we get the right amount of generation, in the right place at the right time.

The $169 million Mill Creek project in Ohariu Valley will have a 26-turbine. This 60MW wind farm will produce sufficient renewable energy to supply power to 30,000 average New Zealand homes annually.

Pyle said, Growth in wind generation will create new business and employment opportunities. A cluster of businesses have developed skills and expertise in wind energy as the Manawatu wind farms expanded, and some of these businesses now export services and skills overseas. Mill Creek will further increase the opportunities in the industry. Last year over US$280 billion was invested in clean energy globally, and $84 billion of that was in wind. There is huge potential for New Zealand businesses that develop niche skills and products from their experience with our tremendous wind resource.

New Zealand’s wind resources are among the best in the world, and the role of wind energy for electricity generation is steadily increasing. Unlike many countries, New Zealand s wind energy does not require subsidies. It is one of the cheapest sources of generation for New Zealand to develop. The Government is focused on renewables, the exploration of our natural resources, energy efficiency and the pricing of carbon as we manage our environmental responsibilities and economic opportunities. Renewables already play a significant role in our energy mix with 77 per cent of New Zealand s electricity coming from renewable sources last year. The Government has a target of 90 per cent by 2025. Wind already generates nearly 5 per cent of New Zealand s electricity. That figure is set to increase with the decision to build the Mill Creek wind farm, and also that about 2400 megawatts of other wind projects are already consented, said Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley.

Wind power in New Zealand

1997: 4 MW
1998: 24 MW (+500 %)
1999: 35 MW (+45.9 %)
2000: 35 MW (- %)
2001: 35 MW (- %)
2002: 35 MW (- %)
2003: 36 MW (+2.9 %)
2004: 168 MW (+366.7 %)
2005: 168 MW (- %)
2006: 171 MW (+1.8 %)
2007: 322 MW (+88.4 %)
2008: 325 MW (+1 %)
2009: 497 MW (+53 %)
2010: 530 MW (+6.7 %)
2011: 622 MW (+17.4 %)

By José Santamarta,