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New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand inches forward

New Zealand's wind energy developments, which have been marking time for some years, have taken another small step forward with the resolution of siting problems that have delayed installation of a prototype 500 kW turbine developed by local company Windflow, headed by Geoff Henderson.

The country has an excellent wind resource and 37 MW of operating plant, but ongoing problems with environmental siting consents has meant a slow-down in development, although enthusiasm remains high.

Henderson has been able to avoid as much as two year's delay in getting his application through the Environment Court by coming to a private settlement with two objectors to his plans to install his 30 metre Windflow 500 machine in the undeveloped area of Gebbies Pass near Christchurch. Other plans for wind developments in Palmerston North and the Wellington region are facing similar siting problems, with potential objections and legal battles on the horizon.

Recent highly publicised stories of the rapid depletion of the country's natural gas fields, combined with a series of dry summers putting pressure on the country's dominant hydro-based system, as well as political support for supporting the Kyoto accord and taking action on climate change, means the future may be a more welcoming one for wind.

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