New Zealand South Island Harnesses Wind Power

With the press of a switch, New Zealand’s Minister of Energy, Pete Hodgson, sent electricity from the South Island’s first wind turbine into the national grid.

Teddington, New Zealand – July 10, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The new turbine is located on hill site off Gebbies Pass Road, south of Teddington, on Banks Peninsula. Hodgson was accompanied by Geoff Henderson, the Executive Director of Windflow Technology Ltd, who has promoted wind power for Canterbury for the past 10 years. The wind turbine has been made in New Zealand and uses several new technologies, such as the torque-limiting gearbox and the pitch-regulated two-bladed teetering rotor. The wind turbine has a maximum output of 500 kW and an average of 200 kW, enough to serve 200 Christchurch houses. The Christchurch City Council has contracted to take all the power generated. The council’s energy manager, Dr Leonid Itskovich, said the wind turbine could supply more than three percent of the council’s own power needs. Hodgson said that the commissioning of the wind turbine was “a point in history for wind generation.” He said the turbine had come about largely from Henderson’s tenacity and enthusiasm for wind generation. Hodgson also praised Orion Ltd, the City Council, and the leadership of the company’s late chairman, Neil Cherry. There had been significant support in the Canterbury region for the project and it was likely more turbines would follow, Hodgson said. “The future for New Zealand power generation will nearly all be renewably generated and a fair chunk of it will be wind,” Hodgson said. “Hundreds of MW will be generated by wind over the next decades.” The chairman of Windflow Technology, Barrie Leay, said the second stage of the company’s development would be to move beyond initial development and reach financial profitability from their wind turbine business. The company also said they would increase production and improve marketing efforts. Windflow Technology is developing five projects in Canterbury at present and two more are coming up, said the company’s chairman Barrie Leay. He hopes the province would become the center of excellence in the wind power industry. Co-leader of the Green Party, Rod Donald, said he looked forward to the engineering expertise used in the Canterbury turbine being exported. He said the harnessing of the wind in the province was a tribute to the late Cherry.
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