Sustained growth in wind generation backed

Last updated 05:00 14/06/2012
WHERE NEXT? The Wind Energy Association wants authorities to identify areas suitable for developing wind technology, such as Te Uku wind farm near Raglan.
MORE FARMS: Strong growth in wind generation is predicted in a new report.

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Wind farms could support up to 1400 jobs and contribute $156 million a year to the economy by 2030, a new report suggests.

Analysis by Business and Economic Research Ltd (Berl) found that New Zealand's 16 operating wind farms, with a capacity of 632 megawatts, support 380 employees and contribute $65m to gross domestic product.

The report said if the country had 3500MW of operating wind farms by 2030, employees supported by the industry would increase to 1430, most engaged in operating and maintaining existing installations.

Berl bases its assumptions on the New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) prediction of how fast the industry will grow over the next two decades – forecasts far more bullish than those of the Economic Development Ministry (MED) in its latest energy outlook statement.

The NZWEA predicts wind will generate more than 12,000 gigawatt-hours of energy in 18 years' time, while the ministry forecasts a little over 4000GWh.

Berl accepts the forecasts of the NZWEA, which commissioned the report, claiming actual growth over the last decade had outstripped previous MED forecasts, leading the association to "identify a plausible scenario for industry growth".

NZWEA chief executive Eric Pyle said growth in wind generation would lead to greater industry opportunities.

"As we've seen happen in the oil and gas industry, the growing wind industry will provide opportunities for Kiwi companies to develop products and services for the domestic and international wind markets."

Related stories:

North Wellington wind farm likely

Massive Castle Hill wind farm approved

Contact Hamish Rutherford
Business reporter
Twitter: @oneforthedr

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- The Dominion Post


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