The answer is blowing in the wind

Wind-generated electricity could supply about a third of New Zealand’s future energy needs. That’s according to a report commissioned by the Government, released by Energy Minister Trevor Mallard today.

Says Mallard:

New wind generation proposals are being announced at an accelerating rate. Currently, wind accounts for 2.5 per cent of peak electricity generation, but is the fastest growing sector of the generation market … New Zealand is in a unique position to utilise wind energy, both geographically, and because of synergies with our existing hydro generation. The fluctuating nature of wind works well with hydro generation, which can be switched on and off at short notice, and allows water to be stored when the wind is blowing.

The report was commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Development and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority – the latter a Green Budget initiative from Labour’s first term. It’s gratifying that the Government is at least paying lip service to renewable energy sources. However, whatever renewable energy sources New Zealand pursues (and we must pursue a mix), we must also face up to the fact that we waste a lot of power. Implementing measures to make homes and businesses more energy efficient (such as helping people install solar water heaters into their homes) must also be part of the equation.

1 Comment Posted

  1. Not a bad report, but it is interesting that once you get past the exec summary, its all about markets, markets, markets.

    Eventually, we will have 100% renewable generation, though currently we’re at 60%-ish, which is not bad by world standards. But gas will become unavailable soonish, and burning coal, well, theres not much future in that.

    However, the report like most others focuses on how to add wind generation to conventional grids, whereas the actual question is what sort of transmissing and distribution networks, and demand management mechanisms do we need to work in a world of intermittent generation.

    I’m not sure that markets can work when the driver isnt the conventional competitive supply of electricity.

    Perhaps electricity should be alloocated like water is under the RMA…?

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