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New Zealand

New Zealand’s wind energy industry is small, but it is growing steadily. Wind energy capacity almost doubled in 2007, increasing from 170.8 MW to 321.8 MW.  New Zealand’s exceptional wind resource means there is a high capacity factor by international standards. In 2006 the average capacity factor for New Zealand’s wind farms was 41%. The estimate for 2007 is 45%, with turbines in some wind farms achieving up to 70% capacity in the windier months.

New Zealand’s wind industry does not receive direct financial support or subsidies from the government. Nonetheless, the development of a new wind farm near Wellington, West Wind, and ongoing investigations at other sites shows that with the right conditions, wind energy is competitive with other forms of electricity generation.

In 2007 the government announced its target for New Zealand to generate 90% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025. New Zealand currently generates about 65% of its electricity from renewable sources, primarily from hydro. To reach 90%, renewable energy capacity needs to grow by about 200 MW each year.

Wind provides about 1.5% of New Zealand’s current electricity needs. With limited opportunities for the expansion of hydro and geothermal generation, the renewable energy target gives added impetus to New Zealand’s wind industry. Wind energy’s contribution is set to grow over the coming years and developers are currently seeking consent to build projects with a combined capacity of more than 1,800 MW.

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