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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Energy: rise of the renewables

New wind turbine towers arriving. Photo by Dave Guerin.
Most Kiwis would agree growing our use of renewable energy is a good thing. The Government has a target of 90% of electricity generation being renewable. Since 2008, the percentage of renewable energy generation has increased from 65% in 2008 to 79% in 2011.

While the big projects like windmills have got everyone's attention (see new wind turbines arriving in Wellington the other day in the picture to the right), the real story is in geothermal generation.

Looking at the new geothermal stations that have been opened, the expansion has been huge (353.3MW):
Name Location Field Operator Capacity (MW) Commissioned
Ngatamarik north of Taupo Ngatamariki Mighty River Power 82 2013
Nga Awa Purua north of Taupo Rotokawa Mighty River Power 140 2010
Te Huka north of Taupo Tauhara Contact Energy 23 2010
Kawerau (kA24) Kawerau, Bay of Plenty Kawerau Geothermal Developments 8.3 2008
Kawerau (MRP) Kawerau, Bay of Plenty Kawerau Mighty River Power 100 2008
Total 353.3
By way of contrast, 219.2MW of wind power generating capacity has been installed over the same period. And more importantly, much like hydro electricity generation, wind has the disadvantage of the weather.