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New Zealand

New Zealand

Wind struggles to break hydro's dominance in New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND: Wind power accounts for just 4.5% of New Zealand's energy mix, according to government figures confirming electricity generation in 2011.

New Zealand's WestWind project in Wellington
New Zealand's WestWind project in Wellington

This is up from the 4% contribution made by wind in 2010. However, renewables overall accounted for 77% of New Zealand’s electricity generation in 2011, Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley revealed on Tuesday. This was due to the country’s hydroelectric capacity, which accounted for 57% of generation, while geothermal accounted for 13.4%.

Total installed wind capacity in New Zealand stood at 622MW at the end of 2011, up from 506MW at the end of 2010.

In January the New Zealand Wind Energy Association criticised a government energy outlook which predicted wind energy account for 10% of electricity production by 2030, five years after the government hopes to achieve 90% electricity production from renewables.

NZWEA chief executive Eric Pyle accused the government of underestimating developments in progress, claiming that wind could achieve 20% of generation by 2025.
 
However, a difficult permitting environment is seeing many schemes delayed, or, in the case of one major scheme, cancelled.

In January the country's largest electricity generator, Meridian Energy, pulled out of a 633MW wind farm on the Lammermoor Range in Otago after the environmental court rejected the consents that had been granted by local authorities because the project would be located in outstanding landscape.

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