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Interest in Wind Power

Considerable interest has been shown in wind power generation for some years. Consequently, the electricity industry has recognised that wind power is an attractive option for meeting anticipated electricity demand growth.

The business case for wind farming is simple and compelling:

  • The input fuel (wind) is free and will last forever
  • The output (electricity) is sold into a large and expanding market
  • Electricity prices continue to rise
  • Once built, wind farms have low operational costs that are largely independent of revenue

 

New Zealand has a very significant wind power resource.  In theory wind turbines could meet all future growth in electricity demand into the foreseeable future.  In addition, the total long-term potential has been assessed to be in the order of 100,000 GWh per year, three times our present total generation.

On a daily basis the wind resource is variable and intermittent.  However, when summed over seasons or years, records indicate average wind speeds are relatively constant.  With New Zealand's significant hydro resource able to act as storage by holding back water when the wind is blowing, and then running harder during the periods of low wind the increased diversity significantly improves the robustness of the entire electricity generation system.