To some, New Zealand is considered a renewable energy oasis, with 75% of its power currently coming from renewable resources.
So much for renewable energy not being viable!
Regardless, New Zealand is now looking to up the ante by getting its renewable power generation up to 90 percent by 2025. And according to a new report issued by the New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA), wind could easily help this nation reach that 90% goal with wind.
The NZWEA has suggested that wind power could supply 20 percent of the nation's power by 2030.
Authors of the report show that electricity demand rates have grown by an average of 2.2% annually from 1992 to 2005 before slowing down due to the global economic crisis.
However, demand is still expected to rise by at least 1.1% annually out to 2030.
While New Zealand’s continued commitment to renewable energy is to be admired, the NZWEA states the government may have put much of its electricity supply ‘eggs in one basket.’ Currently, hydro supplies two-thirds of New Zealand’s energy with geothermal energy making substantial strides.
However, due to the country’s size, finding sites to further develop hydroelectric dams is becoming an arduous task. Cheap “brownfield” geothermal sites are becoming scarce in New Zealand with other geothermal locations much more expensive to create, as well.
This is where wind energy comes in.
Onshore projects could be installed all over the country due to its mountainous terrain. Also, unlike hydro, wind provides a source of energy less susceptible to seasonal weather patterns.
According to the Global Wind Energy Council, New Zealand’s wind resources have been described as “spectacular.” Currently, wind energy accounts for 5% of the nation’s power, but the room to grow is tremendous.
Also worth noting is that continued technological improvements are helping drive down the cost of turbines, operation and maintenance.
As of this writing, the NZWEA is striving for wind to account for 3.5 GW generation capacity by 2030.