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This demonstration wind turbine in Brooklyn, Wellington, is New Zealand's oldest wind turbine still in operation. It was installed in 1993.

Wind power in New Zealand generates a small but rapidly growing proportion of the country's electricity, as the country makes increasing use of its outstanding wind resources. Currently wind supplies around 2.5% of New Zealand's electricity needs, with preparations underway for a ten-fold expansion in capacity.


Generation capacity and expansion

As of late 2008, New Zealand had an installed wind generation capacity of 322 MW, nearly double the 2006 capacity. By end 2009 total installed wind generation capacity had reached 500 MW. Wind power now provides enough electricity to meet the needs of 145,000 New Zealand households, or approximately 2.5% of the country's electricity demand.[1] Wind farms with a further capacity of 191 MW are under construction,[2] with approval granted or being sought for another 3,224 MW.[3]

Wind resources

New Zealand has outstanding wind resources, due to its position astride the Roaring Forties, resulting in nearly continuous strong westerly winds over many locations, unimpeded by other nearby landmasses at similar latitude.[4] One study found that using 1% of total available land for wind farms would produce approximately 100,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year.[5] This is roughly two times the annual electricity consumption of New Zealand. Nearly continuous however does not mean continuous: a high-pressure weather system can cover the entire country, meaning no significant winds anywhere.


Wind farms and turbines generate a wide range of opinions from outright opposition to widespread acceptance. Opposition is due to noise, aesthetics and ecological factors. A Palmerston North landscape designer launched a petition in 2008 calling for a moratorium on wind farm developments until stricter national policies are in place, including minimum distances from housing, maximum saturation levels, and protection for iconic areas.[6]

Wind farms

Under construction
Hau Nui Wind Farm
Tararua Wind Farm
Te Apiti Wind Farm
Te Rere Hau Wind Farm
White Hill Wind Farm
West Wind Wind Farm
Horseshoe Bend Wind Farm
Awhitu Wind Farm
Hauauru ma raki
Hawke's Bay Wind Farm
Kaiwera Downs Wind Farm
Long Gully Wind Farm
Mahinerangi Wind Farm
Mill Creek Wind Farm
Mount Cass Wind Farm
Project Hayes
Te Uku Wind Farm
Turitea Wind Farm
Waitahora Wind Farm
Chatham Island Wind Farm
Rototuna Wind Farm
Wind farms in New Zealand. (Farms on Chatham Island and Ross Island are not shown.)


Name Commissioned Operator Capacity (MW)
Annual Generation (GWh)
Hau Nui 1997 Genesis Energy 8.8
Ross Island[7][8] 2010 Meridian Energy 1
Tararua 1999 TrustPower 161
Te Apiti 2004 Meridian Energy 91
Te Rere Hau 2006 NZ Windfarms 31.5
White Hill 2007 Meridian Energy 58

Under construction

Name Operator Projected Capacity (MW)
Planned commissioning date
Horseshoe Bend[9] Pioneer Generation 2.5
Project West Wind Meridian Energy 144 Late 2009
Te Rere Hau (expansion) NZ Windfarms 39


Name Operator Projected Capacity (MW)
Planned commissioning date
Awakino[10] Ventus 41.6
Awhitu Genesis Energy 25 on hold
Chatham Island[11] CBD Energy 0.4
Hauauru ma raki Contact Energy 540
Hawke's Bay Hawkes Bay Wind Farm Ltd 225
Kaiwera Downs TrustPower 240
Long Gully Mighty River Power 10 Consent granted in October 2009
Mahinerangi TrustPower 200
Mill Creek Meridian Energy 71
Mount Cass MainPower 69 consents declined, under appeal
Mount Stuart[12] NZ Windfarms 6
Project Gumfields[13] Meridian Energy 99
Project Hayes Meridian Energy 630 consents declined on appeal
Project Central Wind[14] Meridian Energy 130
Puketiro RES NZ 150
Rototuna[15] Meridian Energy 500
Slopedown[16] Wind Prospect CWP (NZ) Ltd 150
Taharoa[17] Taharoa C 100
Taumatatotora[18] Ventus Energy 44
Te Uku WEL networks and Meridian Energy 84
Te Waka and Titiokura Unison Networks and Roaring 40s 147
Turitea Mighty River Power 360
Waitahora Contact Energy 177 consents declined, under appeal
Waverley[19][20] Allco Wind Energy 135
Weld Cone[21][22] Energy3 1.5

Proposed but abandoned

Name Operator Projected Capacity (MW)
Maungatua Wind Farm[23][24] Windpower Maungatua 25 project abandoned[25]
Motorimu Wind Farm[26] Motorimu Wind Farm Limited 108 scrapped, consents surrended[27]

Individual wind turbines

The Windflow 500 is New Zealand's only locally designed and manufactured wind turbine.

Individual demonstration and prototype wind turbines have been installed at Southbridge in Canterbury,[28] Gebbies Pass near Christchurch and at Brooklyn in Wellington.

Many small windmills serve as windpumps on New Zealand farms.

Coping with intermittency

Wind farms partner nicely with hydro plants on the same grid to create combined power plants, because hydro plants can be uprated with extra turbine units to provide highly dispatchable peak generating capacity above the average flows of their rivers, at lower cost than other peak power options.[29] During periods of high wind and low electricity demand, a hydro plant can reduce its output to accumulate water in its reservoir, whilst wind power handles a higher share of the grid load. Then during periods of low wind, the hydro plant can raise its output temporarily, drawing down its reservoir a bit. Given New Zealand's large proportion of hydroelectric generating capacity, it is better-positioned than most nations to uprate its generating stations and grid to handle intermittent power sources such as wind and solar. The available virtual energy storage represented by hydro plants can be one of the main factors limiting the maximum amount of wind and solar power that a grid can accommodate. Further increases in intermittent power source development may require construction of pumped-storage hydroelectricity and implementation of energy demand management techniques.

Other nations also plan to generate more of their electricity from renewable sources, and are researching solutions for the intermittency problem. The Institute for Solar Energy Supply Technology of the University of Kassel pilot-tested a combined power plant linking solar, wind, biogas and hydrostorage to provide load-following power around the clock, entirely from renewable sources.[30] According to a 2007 Stanford University study published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, interconnecting ten or more wind farms allows 33 to 47% of the total energy produced to be used as reliable, baseload electric power, as long as minimum criteria are met for wind speed and turbine height.[31][32]

See also


  1. ^ "Wind generation in New Zealand". New Zealand Wind Energy Association. Retrieved 2009-02-24.  
  2. ^ "Wind energy basics" (PDF). New Zealand Wind Energy Association. Retrieved 2009-02-24.  
  3. ^ "Proposed wind farms". New Zealand Wind Energy Association. Retrieved 2009-02-24.  
  4. ^ "New Zealand wind resource". New Zealand Wind Energy Association. Retrieved 2008-03-08.  
  5. ^ "New Zealand's Wind Resource". New Zealand Wind Energy Association. Retrieved 2008-03-08.  
  6. ^ Matthews, Lee (2 February 2009). "Petition calls for turbine advice". Manawatu Standard. Retrieved 16 February 2009.  
  7. ^ "Ross Island wind farm". New Zealand Wind Energy Association. Retrieved 2009-02-15.  
  8. ^ "McCully opens Antarctic wind farm". New Zealand Herald. 16 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  9. ^ Horseshoe Bend Wind Farm New Zealand Wind Energy Association
  10. ^ "Submission on the Awakino Wind Farm Development". Ministry of Economic Development. April 2005.  
  11. ^ "Wind farm for Chathams". The Press. 17 December 2008.  
  12. ^ "Proposed Mt Stuart Windfarm Information". Clutha District Council. Retrieved 2009-02-06.  
  13. ^ Kim Reed, Windfarm investigation blows on, Northern News, 10 October 2007.
  14. ^ "Project Central Wind". Meridian Energy Ltd. Retrieved 2009-02-14.  
  15. ^ Mike Barrington (2008-12-30). "Giant wind farm plan". Northern Advocate. Retrieved 2008-12-31.  
  16. ^ "Facts & figures". Slopedown Wind Farm. Retrieved 2009-02-05.  
  17. ^ Three wind farms planned for Waikato, New Zealand Herald.
  18. ^ "Taumatatotora-NZ Wind Farm". Ventus Energy. Retrieved 2009-02-05.  
  19. ^ $300 million wind farm for Waverley, Wanganui Chronicle, 28 April 2007.
  20. ^ "Wind farm hearing put off indefinitely by applicant". Waverley Way. Retrieved 2009-02-06.  
  21. ^ Weld Cone Wind Farm, NZ Wind Energy Association.
  22. ^ "Farmers plan to put wind to good use". Marlborough Express. 15 January 2009.  
  23. ^ "Mt Maungatua wind-farm proposal grows 25%". Otago Daily Times. 15 July 2008.  
  24. ^ 6 month report to 31 December 2008, NZ Windfarms Limited, 2 March 2009. Quote: "the WindPower Maungatua wind farm ... is now unlikely to proceed in the near future, if at all".
  25. ^ "Wind farm development abandoned". Otago Daily Times. 29 August 2009.  
  26. ^ "Notice of Decision". Joint Hearings Commissioners. Retrieved 2009-02-14.  
  27. ^ Miller, Grant (25 August 2009). "Wind farm idea off table as liquidators surrender consent". The Manawatu Standard.  
  28. ^ New Zealand Wind Energy Association - Southbridge Wind Turbine
  29. ^ "Hydroelectric Power". United States Bureau of Reclamation. Retrieved 2008-10-13.  
  30. ^ "The Combined Power Plant: the first stage in providing 100% power from renewable energy". SolarServer. January 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-10.  
  31. ^ "The power of multiples: Connecting wind farms can make a more reliable and cheaper power source". 2007-11-21.  
  32. ^ Archer, C. L.; Jacobson, M. Z. (2007), "Supplying Baseload Power and Reducing Transmission Requirements by Interconnecting Wind Farms", Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology (American Meteorological Society) 46 (11): 1701–1717,  

Further reading

External links


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