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.
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.