Wind power in New Zealand

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This demonstration wind turbine in Brooklyn, Wellington, was New Zealand's first turbine. It has since been upgraded. It was in operation for 22 years from 1993 to 2015.

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 over 5 percent of electricity generated in the country.[1]

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.[2]

Generation capacity and expansion[edit]

Wind power in New Zealand is located in New Zealand
Under construction
Under construction
Hau Nui Wind Farm
Hau Nui Wind Farm
Horseshoe Bend Wind Farm
Horseshoe Bend Wind Farm
Lulworth Wind Farm
Lulworth Wind Farm
Mahinerangi Wind Farm
Mahinerangi Wind Farm
Tararua Wind Farm
Tararua Wind Farm
Te Apiti Wind Farm
Te Apiti Wind Farm
Te Rere Hau Wind Farm
Te Rere Hau Wind Farm
Te Uku Wind Farm
Te Uku Wind Farm
Weld Cone Wind Farm
Weld Cone Wind Farm
West Wind Wind Farm
West Wind Wind Farm
White Hill Wind Farm
White Hill Wind Farm
Mt Stuart Wind Farm
Mt Stuart Wind Farm
Wind farms in New Zealand. (Farms on Chatham Island and Ross Island are not shown.)

As of 2016, New Zealand had an installed wind generation capacity of 690 MW.[1] In the 2016 calendar year, wind power produced 2,303 GWh of electricity, 5.4 percent of the country's electricity generation that year.[1]

Around 3000 MW of wind farms and turbines have received resource consent or are seeking it.[3][4]

The New Zealand Wind Energy Association predicts that wind could reach 20 percent of New Zealand's annual generation by 2030.[5]

Wind resources[edit]

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.[6] One study found that using 1% of total available land for wind farms would produce approximately 100,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year.[7] 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.

Public opinion[edit]

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.[8]

Coping with intermittency[edit]

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.[9] 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[edit]

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

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,[10] 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
Annual average
generation (GWh)[11]
Hau Nui 1997 Genesis Energy 15 8.65 22 41°21′42″S 175°29′2″E / 41.36167°S 175.48389°E / -41.36167; 175.48389 (Hau Nui Wind Farm)
Mahinerangi March 2011 Tilt Renewables 12 36 105 45°45′38″S 169°54′18″E / 45.76056°S 169.90500°E / -45.76056; 169.90500 (Mahinerangi Wind Farm)
Mt Stuart[12] December 2011 Pioneer Generation 9 7.65 46°4′20″S 169°46′2″E / 46.07222°S 169.76722°E / -46.07222; 169.76722 (Mt Stuart Wind Farm)
Tararua 1999-2007 Tilt Renewables 134 161 650 40°20′46″S 175°46′48″E / 40.34611°S 175.78000°E / -40.34611; 175.78000 (Tararua Wind Farm)
Te Apiti 2004 Meridian Energy 55 91 258 40°17′46″S 175°48′30″E / 40.29611°S 175.80833°E / -40.29611; 175.80833 (Te Apiti Wind Farm)
Te Rere Hau 2006-11 NZ Windfarms 97 48.5 40°23′18″S 175°43′27″E / 40.38833°S 175.72417°E / -40.38833; 175.72417 (Te Rere Hau Wind Farm)
Te Uku 2011 WEL Networks / Meridian Energy 28 64.4 37°52′42″S 174°57′47″E / 37.87833°S 174.96306°E / -37.87833; 174.96306 (Te Uku Wind Farm)
Project West Wind 2009 Meridian Energy 62 142.6 550 41°16′35″S 174°39′37″E / 41.27639°S 174.66028°E / -41.27639; 174.66028 (Project West Wind)
White Hill 2007 Meridian Energy 29 58 200 45°45′9″S 168°16′18″E / 45.75250°S 168.27167°E / -45.75250; 168.27167 (White Hill Wind Farm)
Mill Creek May 2014[13] Meridian Energy 26 59.8 41°12′44″S 174°44′20″E / 41.21222°S 174.73889°E / -41.21222; 174.73889 (Mill Creek Wind Farm)
Flat Hill[14] September 2015[15] Pioneer Generation 8 6.8 46°34′49.71″S 168°17′9.73″E / 46.5804750°S 168.2860361°E / -46.5804750; 168.2860361 (Flat Hill Wind Farm)

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.[16][17]


Name Operator Projected Capacity (MW)
Planned commissioning date
Awakino[18] Ventus 41.6
Awhitu Tilt Renewables 15 under development 37°16′S 174°40′E / 37.267°S 174.667°E / -37.267; 174.667 (Awhitu Wind Farm)
Castle Hill Wind Farm[19] Genesis 429-858 consented 40°43′0″S 175°56′0″E / 40.71667°S 175.93333°E / -40.71667; 175.93333 (Castle Hill)
Hauauru ma raki Contact Energy 540 Contact to exit this project[20] 37°34′4″S 174°48′18″E / 37.56778°S 174.80500°E / -37.56778; 174.80500 (Hauauru ma raki)
Hawke's Bay Hawkes Bay Wind Farm Ltd 225 39°11′2″S 176°41′35″E / 39.18389°S 176.69306°E / -39.18389; 176.69306 (Hawke's Bay Wind Farm)
Kaiwera Downs Tilt Renewables 240 46°14′29″S 169°3′21″E / 46.24139°S 169.05583°E / -46.24139; 169.05583 (Kaiwera Downs Wind Farm)
Long Gully Mercury Energy 12.5 Consent granted in October 2009 41°19′36″S 174°43′4″E / 41.32667°S 174.71778°E / -41.32667; 174.71778 (Long Gully Wind Farm)
Mahinerangi (stage 2) Tilt Renewables 160 45°45′38″S 169°54′18″E / 45.76056°S 169.90500°E / -45.76056; 169.90500 (Mahinerangi Wind Farm)
Mount Cass MainPower 69 consents declined, under appeal 43°4′30″S 172°50′15″E / 43.07500°S 172.83750°E / -43.07500; 172.83750 (Mount Cass Wind Farm)
Project Central Wind[21] Meridian Energy 130
Project Gumfields[22] Meridian Energy 99
Project Hurunui, Greta Valley[23] Meridian Energy 76 consents notified April 2011
Puketiro RES NZ 150 41°06′S 174°54′E / 41.100°S 174.900°E / -41.100; 174.900 (Puketiro Wind Farm)
Rototuna[24] Meridian Energy 500 36°15′0″S 174°1′48″E / 36.25000°S 174.03000°E / -36.25000; 174.03000 (Rototuna Wind Farm)
Slopedown[25] Wind Prospect CWP (NZ) Ltd 150
Taharoa[26] Taharoa C 100
Taumatatotora[27] Ventus Energy 44
Titiokura Unison Networks and Roaring 40s 45 39°12′20″S 176°41′13″E / 39.20556°S 176.68694°E / -39.20556; 176.68694 (Te Waka Wind Farm)
Turitea Mercury Energy 360 Construction unlikely until 2015.[28] 40°26′28″S 175°40′17″E / 40.44111°S 175.67139°E / -40.44111; 175.67139 (Turitea Wind Farm)
Waitahora Contact Energy 177 not proceeding in foreseeable future[20] 40°21′44″S 176°10′24″E / 40.36222°S 176.17333°E / -40.36222; 176.17333 (Waitahora Wind Farm)
Waverley[29] Tilt Renewables 130


Name Operator Projected Capacity (MW) Comments Coordinates
Project Hayes Meridian Energy 630 Abandoned in January 2012 45°30′39″S 169°53′3″E / 45.51083°S 169.88417°E / -45.51083; 169.88417 (Project Hayes)
Maungatua Wind Farm[30][31] Windpower Maungatua 25 project abandoned[32]
Motorimu Wind Farm[33] Motorimu Wind Farm Limited 108 scrapped, consents surrendered[34]
Te Waka Unison Networks and Roaring 40s 102 39°12′20″S 176°41′13″E / 39.20556°S 176.68694°E / -39.20556; 176.68694 (Te Waka Wind Farm)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "New Zealand Energy Quarterly - March 2018". MBIE. 21 June 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  2. ^ Bradley, Grant Bradley, Grant (7 June 2011). "Wellington winds too windy for wind farm". NZ Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Generation update". Electricity Authority (New Zealand). September 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  4. ^ "Proposed wind farms". New Zealand Wind Energy Association. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  5. ^ "More wind powered generation in New Zealand, producing 20% of our electricity". New Zealand Wind Energy Association. 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  6. ^ "New Zealand wind resource". New Zealand Wind Energy Association. 10 January 2008. Archived from the original on 10 January 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
  7. ^ "New Zealand's Wind Resource". New Zealand Wind Energy Association. Archived from the original on 20 March 2007. Retrieved 8 March 2008.
  8. ^ Matthews, Lee (2 February 2009). "Petition calls for turbine advice". Manawatu Standard. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
  9. ^ "Hydroelectric Power" (PDF). United States Bureau of Reclamation. Retrieved 13 October 2008.
  10. ^ New Zealand Wind Energy Association - Southbridge Wind Turbine Archived 4 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "List of Generating Stations". New Zealand Electricity Authority. November 2010. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  12. ^ "Proposed Mt Stuart Windfarm Information". Clutha District Council. Archived from the original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  13. ^ "Meridian's new windfarm open". Dominion-Post. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  14. ^ "Flat Hill". New Zealand Wind Energy Association. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  15. ^ MCleod, Hannah (1 September 2015). "New Bluff wind farm can power 2500 homes". Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  16. ^ "Ross Island wind farm". New Zealand Wind Energy Association. Archived from the original on 17 November 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2009.
  17. ^ "McCully opens Antarctic wind farm". New Zealand Herald. 16 January 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
  18. ^ "Submission on the Awakino Wind Farm Development". Ministry of Economic Development. April 2005.
  19. ^ Chug, Kiran (2 April 2011). "Planned wind farm would be biggest". Stuff. Fairfax. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  20. ^ a b "Diverse asset and fuel position and a focus on efficiency lift results" (PDF) (Press release). Contact Energy. 20 August 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 August 2014.
  21. ^ "Project Central Wind". Meridian Energy Ltd. Retrieved 14 February 2009.
  22. ^ "Windfarm investigation blows on". Northern News. 9 October 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  23. ^ "Meridian Energy Project Hurunui Wind CRC111342 CRC111343 CRC111354 CRC111344". Public Notices. Environment Canterbury. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  24. ^ Mike Barrington (30 December 2008). "Giant wind farm plan". Northern Advocate. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
  25. ^ "Facts & figures". Slopedown Wind Farm. Archived from the original on 30 January 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
  26. ^ NZPA (2 February 2006). "Three wind farms planned for Waikato". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  27. ^ "Taumatatotora-NZ Wind Farm". Ventus Energy. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
  28. ^ Rankin, Janine (8 October 2011). "Wind farm on hold". Manawatu Standard. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  29. ^ $300 million wind farm for Waverley, Wanganui Chronicle, 28 April 2007.
  30. ^ "Mt Maungatua wind-farm proposal grows 25%". Otago Daily Times. 15 July 2008.
  31. ^ 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".
  32. ^ "Wind farm development abandoned". Otago Daily Times. 29 August 2009.
  33. ^ "Notice of Decision" (PDF). Joint Hearings Commissioners. Retrieved 14 February 2009.
  34. ^ Miller, Grant (25 August 2009). "Wind farm idea off table as liquidators surrender consent". The Manawatu Standard.

External links[edit]

Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML · GPX