Report identifies significant renewable energy potential in Taranaki

A RENEWABLE energy study commissioned by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has identified the potential for more than 350 megawatts of electricity from wind, hydro, solar and waves in New Zealand’s Taranaki region.
Report identifies significant renewable energy potential in Taranaki Report identifies significant renewable energy potential in Taranaki Report identifies significant renewable energy potential in Taranaki Report identifies significant renewable energy potential in Taranaki Report identifies significant renewable energy potential in Taranaki

Wind is the strongest candidate with an estimated generation capacity of 300MW, followed by a potential 60MW from hydro, 10MW from biomass and unquantified significant potential from solar and wave energy resources.

Investment in wind power has been quite low in New Zealand due to low electricity prices, however the past few years have seen an increase in electricity costs making it more affordable to invest in wind power, according to the report.

The country’s installed wind capacity of 170MW is quite low compared with countries such as Germany, which has a total capacity of 18,500MW.

The report identifies households as a significant user of electricity, accounting for 32% of electricity demand in the Taranaki region.

“A standard solar thermal system can produce around 55% of a household’s water heating,” the report said.

Investing in solar thermal technologies can help alleviate the cost and supply issues currently faced by authorities.

According to the report, Taranaki is big enough to accommodate 13 ‘mini’ or small scale hydro power projects with a capacity of around 80MW.

Current installed hydro capacity in the region is almost 47MW.

The report reveals that the potential for marine energy is significant with costs expected to drop over the next 10 years.

EECA chief executive Heather Staley said councils were continuously planning for the best ways to use their resources.

“We realised there was an opportunity for central government to work with Taranaki Regional Council to identify what renewable energy resources they have in their area, and then how to integrate this information into their planning processes,” she said.

The report was prepared by engineering consultancy firm Sinclair Knight Merz.

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