Distributed small-scale wind in New Zealand: Advantages, barriers and policy support instruments
If future climate change goals being negotiated internationally are to have any chance of being achieved, developed countries need to undertake a major transition in their energy systems. This will require a rapid expansion of renewable energy generation, including wind electricity. Wind energy in New Zealand is commercially viable in many cases, yet opportunities for its exploitation are far from fully utilised. Many communities are showing resistance to wind farm developments, since large wind farms are often seen as intrusive. Building wind farms on a small scale may be a useful way of overcoming this problem. This study examines the pattern of recent wind industry development in New Zealand. It is argued that two key characteristics have emerged that are limiting the potential development of the industry: a trend towards large scale, leading to increased local opposition; and a small number of investors. Research methods include a review of international and local literature, and a rural mail survey questionnaire, with 338 respondents. We provide survey evidence that small wind farms, and community ownership of them, may be attractive to local communities, and that this point of advantage is helpful for the rapid expansion of wind generation in New Zealand.
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