Renewables Should Provide 100% of New Zealand Power

A major windfarm company in New Zealand has called for renewable energy to provide 100 percent of the electricity in that country.

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, NZ, 2001-08-09 [] A major windfarm company in New Zealand has called for renewable energy to provide 100 percent of the electricity in that country. The current threat of power cuts and soaring electricity prices in New Zealand’s power crisis, show the folly of relying on hydropower, according to Geoff Henderson, Chief Executive of Windflow Technology Ltd. “The wind resource in New Zealand is huge,” he explains. “Thirty to forty percent of our generation could come from wind power.” Combined with the country’s hydroelectric and geothermal capacity, “this would give us 100 percent renewable electricity.” “Wind power is the fastest growing form of generation world-wide, and New Zealand has the best wind resource in the world,” he adds. “It is time to stop treating it as a bit player.” “Wind power, at 5 to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour, is our cheapest renewable option,” says Henderson. “On a fully-costed basis, it is already cheaper than historically taxpayer-subsidized hydro ever has been.” “Marginally, cheaper gas-fired power is free-riding on the costs of climate change and risks to future generations,” he adds. “The recent international progress at Bonn on the Kyoto Protocol means that the days are numbered for gas-fired power to remain competitive” as New Zealand’s supplies of natural gas run down. Windflow Technology has raised most of a $3 million offering to the general public to fund the first stage of a local venture manufacturing large wind turbines. In a measure to save electricity during the country’s current power crisis, the New Zealand Parliamentary complex will run its diesel generators for eleven hours a day during peak demand periods to save 146,000 kWh a month from the national grid. Using the generators and cutting back on floodlighting will save 20 percent of Parliament’s electricity needs, enough to power 180 average homes. Energy minister Pete Hodgson is meeting energy stakeholders today to discuss the prospect of electricity supply shortages later this winter. Electricity generators and retailers, the national grid utility, line companies, consumer groups and officials from energy and environment departments of the government are involved in the meeting. Hodgson wants to discuss the prospect of electricity retailers offering incentives for consumers to save electricity in ‘buy-back’ schemes and methods to achieve savings in the commercial and retail sectors.
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