Wind power in New Zealand
This article needs to be updated.(April 2016)
Wind power in New Zealand generates a small but growing proportion of the country's electricity. As of 2016, wind power accounts for 690 MW of installed capacity and nearly 5 percent of electricity generated in the country.
New Zealand has abundant wind resources. The country is in the path of the Roaring Forties, strong and constant westerly winds, and the funneling effect of Cook Strait and the Manawatu Gorge increase the resource's potential. These effects make the Lower North Island the main region for wind generation. About 70 percent of the nation's current installed capacity lies within this region, with some turbines have a capacity factor of over 50 percent in this area.
Generation capacity and expansion
As of January 2012, New Zealand had an installed wind generation capacity of 622 MW. In the 2011 calendar year, wind power produced 1,930 GWh of electricity, 4.5 percent of the country's electricity generation that year.
The New Zealand Wind Energy Association predicts that wind could reach 20 percent of New Zealand's annual generation by 2030 
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. One study found that using 1% of total available land for wind farms would produce approximately 100,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year. This is roughly two times the annual electricity consumption of New Zealand. Nearly continuous, however, does not mean continuous: a high-pressure weather system, for instance, sometimes cover the entire country with the result of no significant winds anywhere, and dispatchable sources like hydro and gas must take over via transmission lines like the HVDC Inter-Island.
The strength and consistency of New Zealand winds means the nationwide capacity factor is high compared to other countries, averaging between 30 and 35 percent, with some individual turbines recording capacity factors above 50 percent. However, the excellent wind resource doesn't come without consequences - the strength of winds at the West Wind Wind Farm caused 6 of the 62 turbines there to suffer premature bearing failures in 2011.
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.
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. 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.
List of operating wind farms
Only wind turbines and farms over 5 MW generating capacity are listed. Individual demonstration and prototype wind turbines have been installed at Southbridge in Canterbury, Gebbies Pass near Christchurch and at Brooklyn in Wellington. Many small windmills serve as windpumps on New Zealand farms.
|Name||Commissioned||Operator||Number of turbines||Installed capacity
|Hau Nui||1997||Genesis Energy||15||8.65||22|
|Mt Stuart||December 2011||Pioneer Generation||9||7.65|
|Te Apiti||2004||Meridian Energy||55||91||258|
|Te Rere Hau||2006-11||NZ Windfarms||97||48.5|
|Te Uku||2011||WEL Networks / Meridian Energy||28||64.4|
|Project West Wind||2009||Meridian Energy||62||142.6||550|
|White Hill||2007||Meridian Energy||29||58||200|
|Mill Creek||May 2014||Meridian Energy||26||59.8|
|Flat Hill||September 2015||Pioneer Generation||8||6.8|
Meridian Energy also operates a 1 MW wind farm on Ross Island, Antarctica. It is not included in the above list as it doesn't contribute electricity to the New Zealand national electricity network.
|Name||Operator||Projected Capacity (MW)
||Planned commissioning date
|Castle Hill Wind Farm||Genesis||429-858||consented|
|Hauauru ma raki||Contact Energy||540||Contact to exit this project|
|Hawke's Bay||Hawkes Bay Wind Farm Ltd||225|
|Long Gully||Mercury Energy||12.5||Consent granted in October 2009|
|Mahinerangi (stage 2 onwards)||Trustpower||164|
|Mount Cass||MainPower||69||consents declined, under appeal|
|Project Central Wind||Meridian Energy||130|
|Project Gumfields||Meridian Energy||99|
|Project Hurunui, Greta Valley, North Canterbury||Meridian Energy||76||consents notified April 2011|
|Slopedown||Wind Prospect CWP (NZ) Ltd||150|
|Titiokura||Unison Networks and Roaring 40s||45|
|Turitea||Mercury Energy||360||Construction unlikely until 2015.|
|Waitahora||Contact Energy||177||not proceeding in foreseeable future|
|Name||Operator||Projected Capacity (MW)||Comments||Coordinates|
|Project Hayes||Meridian Energy||630||Abandoned in January 2012|
|Maungatua Wind Farm||Windpower Maungatua||25||project abandoned|
|Motorimu Wind Farm||Motorimu Wind Farm Limited||108||scrapped, consents surrendered|
|Te Waka||Unison Networks and Roaring 40s||102|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wind power in New Zealand.|
- Energy in New Zealand
- Renewable energy commercialization
- Solar power in New Zealand
- Ocean power in New Zealand
- Geothermal power in New Zealand
- Biofuel in New Zealand
- Hydroelectric power in New Zealand
- Solar hot water in New Zealand
- Electricity sector in New Zealand
- List of power stations in New Zealand
- Renewable energy in New Zealand
- Renewable energy by country
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