Push for local manufacture of wind turbines

Well-known New Zealand wind proponent Neil Cherry has been appointed chairman of Windflow Engineering Ltd (WEL), a venture looking to establish a local wind turbine manufacturing industry. WEL is in the process of raising capital to produce turbines based on technology developed by wind engineer Geoff Henderson. Cherry has 25 years of involvement in wind energy, which has included carrying out a worldwide wind energy survey for the US Department of Energy as well as wind energy resource assessment programs in New Zealand. He is currently a senior lecturer in meteorology at Lincoln University, Canterbury. WEL is looking to produce a 500 kW wind turbine, with the first one operational by early 2002. The company has already gained approval for a ten-year hedging contract from the Christchurch City Council, to produce 3.3% of its electricity. It has also been offered a ten-year network connection contract from Orion NZ Ltd, including the buy-back of power by Orion in peak demand periods.