New Zealand set to release report on the economic benefits of wind power

We kicked off proceedings with an industry and stakeholder networking event in the Capital on Wednesday, June 13. At the event NZWEA released a report that examines the economic benefits of wind farms in NZ, in particular current and future employment opportunities. We think many people were pleasantly surprised by some of the conclusions the report reaches.

From there the focus moved to Central Otago, where New Zealand’s newest wind farm was officially opened on Global Wind Day. While Mt Stuart is a small project, at only 8 MW, it is an exciting project for us as it marks the entry of Spanish turbine supplier Gamesa into the Australasian market. Also on Global Wind Day, over 250 secondary students visited a wind farm in the Manawatu and learnt about employment opportunities in the industry.

NZWEA is running a national colouring competition for primary and intermediate schools – our members have come on board to offer prizes such as the chance to go to the top of a turbine and a class trip to a wind farm.

All and all, we’re expecting to generate some very positive energy around wind energy in this coming month. New Zealand is a windy country and events like Global Wind Day help us enable this resource to really work for the country. Wind already provides about 5% of New Zealand’s electricity. The NZ wind industry’s goal is to be supplying 20% by 2030.

Wind energy 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 Sarah Vaughan, New Zealand Wind Energy Association,