logo
Article

Wind turbines rejection 'lost opportunity' for island

Stuff|Evan Harding|November 13, 2022
New ZealandGeneral
In late November 2019, Environment Minister David Parker announced that Stewart Island had been granted $3.16 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to help build two wind turbines, “putting the island on a path to sustainable electricity generation”. ...However, just 16-months later, in March 2021, it was announced the wind turbine project had been scrapped after agreement could not be reached on a suitable location for the turbines.

When Energy Minister Megan Woods publicly says it was “disappointing” the Government’s offer to fund two wind turbines on Stewart Island was rejected in 2020, she’s likely putting it lightly.
 
In late November 2019, Environment Minister David Parker announced that Stewart Island had been granted $3.16 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to help build two wind turbines, “putting the island on a path to sustainable electricity generation”.
 
The island was powered by diesel generators, and Parker said it was high time the island’s energy future was addressed.
 
However, just 16-months later, in March 2021, it was announced the wind turbine project had been scrapped after agreement could not be reached on a suitable location for the turbines.
 
Government evaluations had earlier determined that wind turbines were the best option when considering power options for the island.
 
The Provincial Growth Fund money was to be used for the construction of a two-turbine wind farm, with the capability to expand it further in future, to ensure a fully renewable system on the island.
 
Woods, when questioned this month on the best options for power ... more [truncated due to possible copyright]
     
When Energy Minister Megan Woods publicly says it was “disappointing” the Government’s offer to fund two wind turbines on Stewart Island was rejected in 2020, she’s likely putting it lightly.
 
In late November 2019, Environment Minister David Parker announced that Stewart Island had been granted $3.16 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to help build two wind turbines, “putting the island on a path to sustainable electricity generation”.
 
The island was powered by diesel generators, and Parker said it was high time the island’s energy future was addressed.
 
However, just 16-months later, in March 2021, it was announced the wind turbine project had been scrapped after agreement could not be reached on a suitable location for the turbines.
 
Government evaluations had earlier determined that wind turbines were the best option when considering power options for the island.
 
The Provincial Growth Fund money was to be used for the construction of a two-turbine wind farm, with the capability to expand it further in future, to ensure a fully renewable system on the island.
 
Woods, when questioned this month on the best options for power on Stewart Island, made a point of saying it was disappointing the wind turbine initiative didn’t proceed after being rejected by affected landowners.
 
Climate Navigator director Scott Willis went further, saying it was a crazy decision to turn down free Government money to instal wind turbines on the island.
 
He saw it as a missed opportunity due to “petty politics at play”.
 
“They have lost an opportunity they will never get back. It was the most sensible opportunity they could possibly have,” he said.
 
“Now they are burdened with ever-rising fossil fuel [diesel] prices because the other renewable option [cable] is way too expensive.”
 
“It’s a sad story they will have to live with, unfortunately. We will look at other places and hope they learn from their mistakes.”
 
During the past 40 years some 25 reports have looked at alternative energy sources on the island, but to date nothing has been built.
 
The diesel generators that power Stewart Island consume about 360,000 litres of diesel a year and, with costs rising, diesel is considered unsustainable in future, both economically and environmentally.
 
Building two wind turbines as part of the island’s power generation network was considered the most economic and environmentally acceptable option.
 
“The economic resilience of Stewart Island will be considerably improved through this investment. Installing wind turbines will work to improve business viability, increase productivity and encourage businesses to remain on the island,” Parker said when announcing the Government funding for the turbines.
 
Some had wanted a hydro scheme, but there was not enough storage for that, and it would be more expensive.
 
Some had wanted a cable from the mainland, but that would be much more expensive, Parker said at the time.
 
“Wind energy is a clean fuel source compared to other energy sources. It does not pollute the air or produce greenhouse gasses.”
 
This week, Great South strategic projects general manager Steve Canny said a Southland Murihiku Energy Strategy 2022-2050 would look at Southland’s current and future energy needs.
 
Stewart Island and Milford Sound were included in the work as they predominantly used fossil fuels as their energy sources.
 
“The general thrust of the strategy is how are we going to access energy in the future, what is the likely need or demand for increased amount of energy, and what time frame could it be achieved,” Canny said.
 
The strategy would be embedded in the Government’s national energy strategy.
 
A Southland District sub-committee looking into Stewart Island’s future power needs last week said a cable was its preferred option. Canny said it remained a “possibility”, but funding it would be the major challenge.
 
Before any commitments were made, other alternatives needed to be looked at and decisions made on whether they were viable.
 
“We need to look at positive ways of reducing carbon emissions, and any moves on Stewart Island and elsewhere that reduce the amount of fossil fuels being consumed, in favour of renewable energy, are opportunities to be embraced.”
 
Paul Norris, chief conservation officer of Real NZ which ferries passengers to Stewart Island twice daily, said the organisation supported any power generation initiatives for the island which were more sustainable and cleaner than diesel.
 
A change from diesel to an alternative reliable power source would be expensive, so any district council and Government assistance, to get better outcomes for the environment, would be a positive, he said.

Content truncated due to possible copyright. Use source link for full article.


Source:https://www.stuff.co.nz/natio…

Share this post
Follow Us
RSS:XMLAtomJSON
Donate
Stay Updated

We respect your privacy and never share your contact information. | LEGAL NOTICES

Contact Us

WindAction.org
Lisa Linowes, Executive Director
phone: 603.838.6588

Email contact

General Copyright Statement: Most of the sourced material posted to WindAction.org is posted according to the Fair Use doctrine of copyright law for non-commercial news reporting, education and discussion purposes. Some articles we only show excerpts, and provide links to the original published material. Any article will be removed by request from copyright owner, please send takedown requests to: info@windaction.org

© 2022 INDUSTRIAL WIND ACTION GROUP CORP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WEBSITE GENEROUSLY DONATED BY PARKERHILL TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION