Politics

This magazine has long held that the political will to utilise wind energy, or the lack of it, is the single most important factor governing wind markets. New Zealand is another case in point. The country has some of the best conditions in the world for wind power: an excellent resource, a developed grid, and large quantities of hydro power for providing pumped storage and back-up power. The government, however, is structuring a liberalised market still geared to the needs of conventional generation and not to those of a new technology with high up front costs. If a national government lacks the will to develop wind power, it will not happen.

The best will in the world, however, needs to be accompanied by timely action, firmly applied. The UK market has become a disaster area, due to the total failure of the physical planning system to cope with the concept of wind power development. Despite government and public support for wind, this goodwill cannot overcome an administrative system where the subjective views of a relatively small group of government officials are allowed to override national policy time and again. Not one planning permit for major wind farm construction has been granted in the past three years. Many have been refused.

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