The New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) congratulates Meridian Energy on receiving consent for its proposed Hurunui Wind Farm in North Canterbury. The project was approved by the Environment Court earlier this week.
“It is evident from the decision that the Court has given careful consideration to the full range of issues raised by the community. It is a reasonable decision for both the community and the developer,” says Eric Pyle, Chief Executive of NZWEA. The Court approved 31 of the 33 proposed wind turbines.
“The project is a valuable addition to Meridian’s pipeline of projects. Hurunui is a solid option for new generation, even given the uncertainty in the electricity market and flat electricity demand,” said Mr Pyle. “The project is located in a region where there are transmission constraints and limited local generation. Wind is one of the lowest cost options for new generation in NZ. And if the forecasts related to the reducing cost of wind energy hold true, the wind could undercut existing thermal generation within a few years.”
Globally, wind is one of the leading sources of new electricity generation. A report released yesterday by the Global Wind Energy Council shows that 44.8 gigawatts of new wind generation was installed around the world in 2012. This is more than four times New Zealand’s total generation capacity. Steve Saywer, GWEC’s Secretary General recently commented that wind is now competitive in an increasing number of markets, despite fossil fuel subsidies which last year amounted to an incentive to emit CO2 of about $110 per tonne.