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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.

Year in Review 2019

In last year’s review, we concluded that the longer-term outlook for wind energy in NZ remains very positive.

After a disappointed plateauing of development over the past few years, planets have aligned.  Mercury has announced it will commence construction of the Turitea Wind Farm in August 2019 and the expectation is that a decision on Tilt Renewable’s Waverley Wind Farm is not far away.

The energy sector is always a dynamic space but the past twelve months in particular has seen some major shifts that shape the future.

One major shift was the government’s decision to halt all off-shore oil and gas exploration and limit on-shore exploration to Taranaki.

Government reviews and consultations on initiatives to address climate change and future proof the electricity sector have been a key feature of the year. The Association has been active in engaging in the consultation process.

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 2019 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.

Climate change and reducing carbon emissions is now centre stage. It is clear that the electricity sector has a key role to play in reducing carbon emission and that wind energy is an essential part of future generation mix. The start of period of managed growth in wind generation is upon us.

Click link below to read full 2019 Year in Review report.

Year in Review 2018

In last year’s review, we concluded that future for renewables in NZ and globally looked very good.  As we now look back on 2017 we stand by that view, but sometimes good things take time.

The Labour-led Government has come to power with an ambitious environmental reform agenda.  The establishment of an Interim Climate Commission and setting of targets of 100% renewable electricity generation in an average hydrology year by 2035 and a net zero carbon position by 2050 are positive for wind energy.  Having clear targets is great but, as we all know, the development and implementation of strategies to achieve the desired outcomes is never easy, especially for such audacious targets.

In this review, we update the domestic and international outlook, provide an overview of NZWEA’s activities during the past year and an overall summary.

The Association continues to focus on three priorities:

  1. Leveraging NZ’s emission reduction target to raise awareness of the benefits of renewable electricity generation, particularly wind energy.
  2. Promoting domestic emission mitigation options to increase demand for electricity and support new generation build activity.
  3. Continuing to raise the profile of wind energy and ensure the regulatory environment supports wind farm development.

In summary, increased optimism in NZ is translating into new consent activity and several build options being considered with the longer-term outlook for wind energy remaining very positive.

Click link below to read full 2018 year in review report.

Year in Review 2017

The global wind industry had another stellar growth year in 2016.  Domestically, while the outlook improved for new wind development, there was no new capacity added.

The improved NZ outlook is due to reducing security margins following thermal plant closures, increasing confidence around demand growth and that the aluminium smelter will remain.  

Internationally 2016 growth was 55GW with 2017 expecting to be around 60GW as economies seek to lower energy sector emission and take advantage of wind energy’s improving economics.

The Association continues to focus on three priorities:

  1. Increasing climate change awareness and leverage NZ’s emission reduction target to raise awareness of the benefits of renewable electricity generation, particularly wind energy.
  2. Promoting domestic emission mitigation options to increase demand for electricity and support new generation build activity.
  3. Continuing to raise the profile of wind energy and ensure the regulatory environment supports wind farm development.

In summary, increased optimism in NZ is translating into new consent activity and several build options being considered with the longer-term outlook for wind energy remaining very positive.

Click link below to read full 2017 year in review report.

Year-in-review-2017.pdf Year-in-review-2017.pdf
File Size: 528kB

Year in Review 2016

The year (2015) started with the wind industry in the doldrums.  But at the conference in April 2015 a presentation about the amount of generation that had been built versus the amount of generation that had been decommissioned raised some eyebrows.  The data said it all.  About as much generation had been retired as had been built over the last few years.

So the 2015 conference was actually reasonably upbeat about the prospect of more wind being built.  And there was that big climate change conference coming up at the end of the year – the Paris conference.

Click link below to read full 2016 year in review report.

Year-in-review-2016.pdf Year-in-review-2016.pdf
File Size: 331kB

Year in Review 2015

The past year has been a difficult one for the wind industry in New Zealand. In contrast globally the wind industry had its best year yet, installing some 51GW of generation and globally 2015 is looking even better

The past year has been a difficult one for the wind industry in New Zealand.  In contrast globally the wind industry had its best year yet, installing some 51GW of generation and globally 2015 is looking even better.

In New Zealand in the past year the Mill Creek windfarm was completed (60MW, near Wellington) and work is well underway on the Flat Hill Windfarm (8MW, near Bluff).  No further development is planned at this stage in New Zealand, but as we heard at the recent NZ Wind Energy Conference this could change rapidly and we could see wind farms being developed.

Click link below to read full 2015 year in review report.

Year-in-review-2015.pdf Year-in-review-2015.pdf
File Size: 311kB