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Year in Review 2020

In last year’s review, we celebrated the restart of wind energy growth after a long period of hibernation.

December 2019 concluded with construction having commenced on the Turitea and Waipipi wind farms and news that MainPower had started pre-construction site works for its $200m, 93MW Mt Cass Wind Farm and that Meridian was seeking potential contractors for its Harapaki Wind Farm north of Napier.

The energy sector is always a dynamic space and the past twelve months is no exception. The development of government policy following the completion of the Electricity Price Review, the passing of the Zero Carbon Act and reform of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) are all positive for the long-term growth of the electricity sector as decarbonisation of the energy sector beckons.

In this review we look back over the past year, update the domestic and international outlook, provide an overview of NZWEA’s activities, priorities for 2020 and an overall summary.

The Association’s strategy was revised to focus on three key areas:

  • Leveraging New Zealand's emissions reduction imperative to enable the energy transition to renewables, particularly wind energy.
  • Optimising wind energy’s position and ensure the regulatory environment supports wind farm development.
  • Expanding the opportunity for wind energy development to enable community and industrial projects including wind's integration with other technologies.

The importance of electricity and new renewable generation to enable decarbonisation of the wider energy sector is recognised. During the course of 2019 the key role wind energy plays has become clear from reviews such as the Productivity Commission’s Low-emissions Inquiry, Transpower’s Te Mauri Hiko White Paper and the Interim Climate Change Committee’s Accelerated Electrification Report.

The quantum of new renewable generation required is a challenge and the imperative to strengthen the RMA to recognise the national importance of renewable electricity generation and enable transmission is now well understood but remains urgent.  Other important areas to progress include providing certainty on transmission and distribution pricing and the implementation of proposed ETS changes.

There has been a lot of policy development work over the past year which is going to shape New Zealand’s low carbon economy.  Ambitious goals have been set but at present there is a lack of solid policy measures to ensure the goals are met.

In 2019 wind industry investment was over $740 million with enough generation to power, on average, over 580,000 electric vehicles. Continued investment, particularly in the short term will depend on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and its effect on electricity demand and capital markets, initiatives to electrify the wider energy sector and the NZ Aluminium Smelter’s decision.

2020 is going to be a year that’s hard to pick where we end up.

Click on the links below to read a summary of the 2019-20 Year in Review report and the full 2019-20 Year in Review report.