Renewable energy in New Zealand

Renewable energy in New Zealand is primarily from hydropower and comprises slightly over half of the electricity generated, a ratio that has been falling for decades while load growth has been met primarily by natural gas-fired power stations. In September 2007, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced a national target of 90 percent renewable electricity by 2025. [ [ New Zealand Commits to 90% Renewable Electricity by 2025] ] with wind energy making up much of that increase.


Geothermal power

Geothermal power is a small but significant part of the electrical energy generation capacity of the country, providing approximately 7% of the country's electricity with installed capacity of over 400 MW. [ Geothermal Energy and Electricity Generation] New Zealand Geothermal Association. Accessed 2008-02-23] New Zealand, like only a small number of other countries worldwide, has numerous geothermal sites that could be developed for exploitation, and also boasts some of the earliest large-scale use of geothermal energy in the world.

Wind power

As of early 2008, 'wind power has an installed capacity of 321 MW, nearly double the 2006 capacity. Wind power now provides enough electricity to meet the needs of 145,000 New Zealand households,cite web
last =
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title = Current wind farms, projects under construction, projects for which resource consents have been applied and potential future developments
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publisher = New Zealand Wind Energy Association
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accessdate = 2008-09-11
] and supplies approximately 2.5% of the country's electricity demand.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Wind energy basics
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date = April 2008
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] A further 172.6 MW of wind farms is under construction, with approval being sought for another 2,054 MW.

olar hot water

Installation of solar hot water heating systems is increasing in New Zealand due in part to government incentive schemes. High temperature system Solar thermal energy plants are not likely to be adopted due to the variable solar radiation in New Zealand. It is unlikely to be economically viable.cite web|url=|title=Solar energy use and potential in New Zealand|last=Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority|date=May 2001|publisher=Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority|accessdate=2008-10-01]

Annual electricity generation

:Source: "New Zealand Energy Data File June 2008", Ministry of Economic Development.

A glance at these figures shows that for the stated target to be attained, current thermal generation will have to be decommissioned and not replaced. Even if the annual total consumption doubles from the 2005 figure (as it did from 1975 to 2005), with all additional generation met by non-thermal means, a static thermal generation of 14,305 on a total of 83,340 is still 17 percent. The most likely candidate for decommissioning would be the 1000 MW Huntly power station, a coal and gas power station that was commissioned in 1987.

While there are some non-technical barriers to the widespread use of renewables, global warming concerns coupled with high oil prices and increasing government support are driving increasing growth in the renewable energy industries. [ [ New Zealand Energy Strategy to 2050: Towards a sustainable low emissions energy system] ]

To boost the "renewables" ratio, geothermal power is often counted as renewable, even though the geothermal heat reservoirs are depleted (observably so at Wairakei, the longest-running), and, they are not emissions-free. For example, the Ngawha geothermal field emits an unusually high amount of CO2 (350 tonnes CO2 per Gigawatt-hour - see and the geothermal fields "plus natural hot springs" draining to the Waikato river deliver sufficient arsenic to render the water unsafe to drink without special treatment. Re-injection of the waste geothermal fluid can reduce these problems (even extending the life of the field), but involves additional expense.

ee also

* List of renewable energy topics by country
* Renewable energy commercialization


External links

* [ New Zealand to be carbon neutral by 2020]

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