Bioenergy, Hydropower, Solar, Wind Power

Renewables Groups Band Together in Power Crisis

Renewables groups in New Zealand will establish an industry body to promote renewable energy technologies in the face of the current power crisis in that country.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, NZ, 2001-08-14 [SolarAccess.com] Renewables groups in New Zealand will establish an industry body to promote renewable energy technologies in the face of the current power crisis in that country. The New Zealand Wind Energy Association will join other groups with similar interests in solar water heating, solar electricity generation, bioenergy and other renewables. A drought has reduced New Zealand’s main source of power, hydroelectricity, to half its storage capacity. “It is essential that the Minister of Energy commits government to actions that will stop us being so dependant on hydro storage,” says Alistair Wilson of the wind group. The Minister “must not, at the end of this crisis, leave us without a solution for the next time. It is clear … that the electricity market focus on short term pricing issues does not address electricity supply security requirements.” The Minister called a second urgent meeting of stakeholders during the weekend, after a request to lower power usage by 10 percent resulted in a reduction of only 7 percent. “An increase in the diversity of renewable energy sources would provide a huge improvement in the security situation for New Zealand,” explains Wilson. “Wind power could be providing substantial hydro-storage benefits during periods of drought.” Several windfarms have planning approval and Wilson says the facilities “could be built very rapidly if a support commitment, such as Australia’s mandated target to increase new renewable energy sources by 2 percent, was provided.” A government commitment would also allow the country’s solar water heating industry to provide “a significant reduction in electric hot water demand.”