The shape of wind to come

The NZ Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) has a published a new report setting out their vision for the coming years, Wind Energy 2030: the growing role for Wind Energy in New Zealand’s electricity system (PDF). It reiterates their expectation that by 2030 wind energy will be supplying 20 percent of our electricity. This is double the amount forecast by the Ministry of Economic Development in their recent Energy Outlook, a forecast which the WEA protested  about at the time.

The report (or its summary) communicates some salient points about wind energy in New Zealand. There is plenty of reason to be upbeat about the prospects. New Zealand’s wind resource is one of the best in the world, with a potential that we have barely begun to realise. Our wind is predictable, able to be forecast accurately 24 hours in advance.  Seasonally, wind is actually more predictable than rainfall. And because wind is nearly always blowing somewhere in New Zealand wind farms in different parts of the country will contribute to overall grid reliability.

Wind meshes well with the hydro generation which supplies around two thirds of our electricity. As wind is increasingly used, hydro generation is likely to become more focused on filling gaps in wind generation – and our hydro lakes will be fuller for longer and hence more reliable.

The report describes wind energy globally as a large, mature and growing industry, with the new markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia now driving market growth. New Zealand is able to tap into global expertise, but also to contribute since our high wind farm productivity provides a good learning and testing environment for wind turbines and hopefully will lead to the development of exportable skills and technology.

Financially wind already makes for good investment in New Zealand, and will become even more profitable in the future. Ongoing running and maintenance costs are falling. Developers are improving their site assessments, reducing their development costs, siting turbines more effectively and sizing them more accurately. And the fuel continues to be free.

A wide geographical distribution of wind farms is likely, and the ample supply of onshore locations means that offshore production is not likely to occur before 2030. The anticipated 3500 MW of wind generation capacity by 2030 will cover 0.4% of New Zealand’s land area. The turbines themselves and servicing roads will occupy a much lesser space of 0.003% of the land.

The report points to the advantage of wind generation in that it can be deployed quickly and in different amounts. In times of low electricity demand growth smaller wind farms can be built. Similarly, if demand grows rapidly wind generation can be deployed quickly when consents are in place – in months rather than years. Thus, development of wind can reduce the electricity shortage/over-capacity cycle that New Zealand has traditionally experienced.

The difficulties in obtaining consents for some wind farms has been well publicised in recent years, but the report notes that resources consents are currently in place for a further 1700 MW of generation, giving a healthy pipeline of potential developments.

It’s good to see the NZWEA providing this kind of report, accessible for the general public, factual and justifiably positive about the future for wind generation of electricity in this country. The case it makes is understandably focused on the economic feasibility of the industry, and it is certainly important that the public understand that wind generation is already capable of standing on its own feet economically.

Although the contribution wind energy makes to combatting climate change is mentioned briefly, it is not a prominent feature of the report. It doesn’t need to be, of course. If wind can make its way on economic grounds, that will do fine. But the report sees a continuing role for natural gas generation, albeit at a lower level than Government forecasts, because of its ability to rapidly vary output for peak supply.

This is too comfortable a view from a climate change perspective. We have to be able to generate electricity reliably without recourse to fossil fuels of any description, and we have to move in that direction as rapidly as possible. We would have to do that eventually even if there were no climate change concerns because the fossil fuels would run out. The challenge is to do it long before that stage, since by that time terrible damage would have been done to the global climate. We need wind and hydro and geothermal and solar and tidal and wave power in place of fossil fuel, not alongside it.

74 thoughts on “The shape of wind to come”

  1. 20% by 2030? That seems a bit weak and watery.

    In South Australia, we only really got going in 2004 and we’re at over 20% in less than 10 years. Wiki tells us 21% by late last year. The latest figure I’ve seen is 26%.

    Given they talk about SA’s ‘close proximity’ to the roaring forties, and New Zealand is smack in the middle of that particular global feature, I think the association is aiming a bit low. A lot low.

    1. This figure of 20% for SA sounds impressive, but it is referring to installed capacity

      According to your Wikipedia page above, the capacity of SA is 1205MW.

      According to this Wikipedia page, the current installed capacity of the NZ fleet is 539 MW

      Therefore the SA capacity is currently about 2.2 times the current NZ capacity.

      Overall, in Australia,renewable energy is 5.2% of total production, of which wind is 22.9%. i.e Wind is about 1% of total energy production in Australia

      I assume that the states are interconnected, so a state-specific percentage seems a little misleading.

      I am not aware of any autonomous grids in the world that have 20% wind penetration.

      1. “I assume that the states are interconnected”

        Only a bit. The inadequacy of interconnection occasionally has caused serious issues – blackouts – during heatwaves across the southern states. You have to remember the distances we’re talking about here make transmission losses a real issue. The states tend to act as more or less separate entities unless there are real benefits for connection – like emergency backup. Routine interconnection would be terribly wasteful at the moment. Though there are plans afoot for SA to interconnect more. Mainly because of the carbon price affecting profitability despite transmission losses.

        There’s also geothermal to consider. The region is a long way from Adelaide, so the fact that it’s also a long way to Vic, NSW, QLD is not so much of a problem. Maybe go straight to interconnection rather than feeding into SA power at all. Or, most likely of all, go first to Olympic Dam, then branch east or south to interconnection. Olympic Dam will be the biggest open-cut mine in the world when the expansion goes through. It’s power needs will be massive. And it’s quite close, in Australian terms, to the geothermal region.

        1. Hey Beaker – I thought you might come up with something – but you got it there before I even finished my 9:54pm comment.

          All those wind farms on the Canary Islands…..where will the Country Guardians be able to go for their holidays now!

          1. I think they holiday where they live their day to day lives, in their vivid imaginations.
            I think andyS transports himself in to this never never land by reading the Dellingpole blog.

            1. The Canaries is of course known for its wind which is why they are a mecca for wind and kite-surfing.

              NZers tend to go to the closer Hawaii for these sports, which is also known for its abandoned wind-turbines.

          2. The Canaries get the Trade Winds, which are a consistently windy type.

            The Falklands have a population of around 3000.

            As for Hawaii, they may be building more turbines, but it would be nice of they’d take down the old ones instead of letting them to rust away in the sea air.

            1. So to recap, andyS is against New Zealand (sitting in the Roaring 40s) making greater use of its excellent wind resource because, Hawaii did not have a condition to decommission on a 1970s planning permission.

      2. “Autonomous grids….that have 20% wind penetration”
        Of course autonomous grids are rare beasts. But 20% wind is not technically difficult.

        Spain and Ireland are both examples of high wind penetration with very poor interconnections. From memory Spain has run at 60% wind for short periods and its interconnection is only 2 GW out of about 40 GW of peak demand.

    2. 20% might seem a bit weak but it is all we need in NZ to achieve a 90% renewables in total. Much more and wind might end up displacing hydro.
      20% is also a realistic target bearing in mind the lack of subsidies. Keep in mind it is in an industry target not a government target so there is not anything tangible in the background to make it happen.
      I agree with Bryan that 100% renewable is both desirable and possible but it will take a change to the market to make it happen. Under current rules the wind generators need a bit of gas in the system to keep the peak prices high enough so they can get a return on investment.

  2. We need wind and hydro and geothermal and solar and tidal and wave power in place of fossil fuel, not alongside it.

    Alongside the pipe dreams of tidal and wave power you left off cold fusion and unicorn power. The only difference is that fusion might actually work, whereas the practical limitations of tidal and wave are such that they will never be large scale. You’d be better off backing the unicorns than wave power!

    The fact that fossil fuels will eventually run out is not an argument for not using them until that time. To stop using them now would be to inflict massive pain on New Zealanders merely for the purposes of being (allegedly) virtuous. We have no real alternatives that will carry anything like the load required. The Greens will block any more dams, the wind is not yet reliable enough and geothermal is already being developed as fast as they can. More unicorns?

    I have no issue with wind power, provided it is economic on its own right, and not via subsidies, hidden or not.

    The answer is, of course, nuclear. Like that’s going to happen.

    1. > The fact that fossil fuels will eventually run out is
      > not an argument for not using them until that time.

      Yep, that’s what my wife says too: use the money before it runs out

  3. Mooloo shared: The fact that fossil fuels will eventually run out is not an argument for not using them until that time.

    Yep, that line of thought worked for the Easter Islands as well.

      1. Who is ‘they’? For whatever reason, the inhabitants felled the last remaining trees on an island in circumstances where they surely cannot have been unaware that that was what they were doing – check your google maps, this really is not a big place! Hence ‘Easter Island’ has become convenient shorthand for allowing short-sighted motives – whatever they may have been – to dominate to the community’s long-term detriment.

        Now, the statement Richard quoted is a textbook example of short-sighted foolishness. Because the only conceivable rational response is ‘yes, it is,’

        Using the last remaining oil would not only mean we run out – leaving us looking very silly indeed – but will almost certainly leave us with a runaway greenhouse effect whose consequences ‘they’ also cannot positively identify, which – if you were truly daft – might allow you to choose to believe that they won’t be dire…

        1. They meaning the academics studying Easter Island. All they know is that it is highly likely that Easter Island was covered by trees and deforestation has denuded the island since this time.Various causes have be postulated including it being impacted by the ‘Little Ice age’ plus the introduction of the Polynesian Rat. They could also have been cut down by the inhabitants but as stated this is unknow for sure.

          Regardless Easter Island might not be a good analogy about stopping the use of a resource. Yes using up all the trees, (if that is what happened), was ultimately bad for the Island both ecologically and anthropologically. However they inhabitants needed to use trees at some level so it is unsure whether or not this could have been avoided completely. So until humans can find viable alternatives to fossil fuels it might be an necessary evil to keep using them and look at ways of mitigating the carbon impact of this.

  4. This report
    claims that of ninety-two countries and regions listed, the highest residential electricity prices were in Denmark, Germany and South Australia – which are also the three with the highest component of wind in their mix of energy sources.
    New Zealand has a better wind resource than any of those, though looking at a map of world wind intensity, we don’t get the Roaring Forties as hard as northern Tasmania or the Falklands do. The fact that wind farms are being built with no feed-in tariff, and by power companies that own enough hydro to back them most of the time, is a point in favour.

    1. Residential Electricity prices are a bit of a blunt tool to assess the cost effectiveness of generation sources as so much else is bundled in, eg tax, government intervention, other activities of the generator (CHP, waste incineration).
      I have not had the opportunity to delve into this EUAA report, but if you want to look at generation costs, Wikipedia has a collection of various national levelized cost assessments –
      Re building wind farms without incentives, in the UK we have the incentives as there is ample generation capacity on the grid but we have an urgent need to get new renewables into the already crowded market place. As I understand it, this is not the case in NZ, wind and other generators are being built to meet growing demand and wind is cost effective enough already to compete.

    2. Interesting report John – what really surprised me is how expensive electricity is in Australia – with all that “cheap” Brown Coal and no carbon price.
      Portugal, Spain and Ireland all have higher wind penetration than Germany but remarkably have lower prices than most of the Australian states.

  5. There are a couple of issues about power supply in SA that aren’t mentioned in polite company.

    First, there’s the undertaking that “all the power” needed for the desalination plant would come from renewable resources. So the rollout for wind was pretty speedy to ensure there was plenty of renewable stuff in the grid before it was switched on.

    Then there’s Olympic Dam. The expansion is barely moving yet. But it will pull vast amounts of power out of the grid when it’s operational. That power supply has to be ready for action.

    And for Adelaide? $1 billion dollars worth of upgrades. Someone has to pay for that.

  6. In response to the comments about “roaring forties” –

    This refers to the predominant westerly airflow that NZ sits in. It was and still is a good way to get to NZ if you are under sail.

    However, from my reading, the wind patterns move around on a seasonal basis. Westerly winds in the South Island bring a lot of rain on the West Coast, or are often strong and gusty on the East, due to the Foehn wind effect.

    Does this translate into a “good wind resource” for wind turbines? I don’t know, maybe someone has better info.

    1. Well I noticed on the nifty little site for Australian wind power that if you play with the dates and the buttons you can see how the choose-a-variety-of-locations strategy works.

      Look at the Lake Bonney group down in the south east. When you isolate those and plug in just the Hallett (mid-north) group as well you can see on certain dates that when one area is just barely chugging along, the other is going like a train.

      Considering the range of latitudes and terrain available in NZ, a well-designed set-up should give a pretty good result.

      1. Andy. The nor-westers in north canterbury do provide a very good wind resource in certain places. At Mt Cass for example 75% of the wind is from the NW quadrant and it is not particularly turbulent.
        It is also pretty steady throughout the year. in winter it can be cold and still in the valleys but the nor-wester keeps blowing across the tops.

        Adelady – very nice site. I’ll have to bookmark it. I guess we will have the equivalent in NZ eventually.

        1. I’ll take your word for it on the steadiness of the NW wind at Mt Cass. My recollection of North Canterbury is strong and gusty winds.

          Putting a bunch of turbines on a fault line that is in an area where we have had over 2000 earthquakes in the last 15 months, and every structure that is at most half the height of the proposed turbines has either fallen down or will be demolished, will be a challenging proposition.

          I hope the insurance companies are sympathetic to your cause.

          1. Faultline? What faultline?

            Plus – wind turbines get a daily work out from the wind. Putting a lot of bending into the towers. A bit of earthquake shaking doesn’t add much to the stress.

            1. It’s on the mt case ridge line. This is a limestone escarpment. Apparently, it is moving several cm a year.
              Besides,it is in Canterbury, which has had several thousand earthquakes in the last 15 months

              Amazing that you think the odd 6 or7 mag quake won’t affect wind turbine towers. We’ve seen several collapse in the uk over the last few months.

            2. No – Mt Cass ridge is not a fault line – at least not that any geologist has recorded. The scarp is an erosion feature.
              For the record it also doesn’t have any nesting falcon (not in the last five years anyway).
              Where do you get this stuff?
              Oh – and UK wind turbines falling down?..must be a result of the high seismicity over there.

            3. *wibble*

              Um, Andy, you know how the Japanese had that large-ish earthquake last year?…

              And are you seriously suggesting earthquakes brought down UK turbines?

              Your confirmation bias in selecting sources of information could lead to full epistemic closure, you know; you’ll end up only being able to communicate with the other inmates in your bubble in some deranged Pidgin if you’re not careful: ‘Hockeystick fakegate Al Gore Marxist takeover it’s The Sun!’ 😉

              What I find most remarkable is your striking inability to do any actual research – i.e. conduct information-seeking activity somewhere away from BishopWorld – while you’re jabbing away at a keyboard that’s apparently fully connected to the worldwide web!

              Could this be because such research tends to lead to conclusions you don’t like?

            4. Earthquakes cause cracking in concrete bases.
              Wind turbines use concrete bases.
              Therefore, in an area of high seismicity, wind turbines would be exposed to higher risk


            5. Foundations for wind turbines are designed appropriate to the ground conditions and seismic risk, not just the model of wind turbine bolted on top. A bit like they do for buildings – blimy andyS, who would have thought eh?
              Unlike buildings, no one is going to come along later and modify the wind turbine to add a building extension or car park compromising the original design, which is what I understand happened to the Canterbury high rise hotel.

            6. Yes sorry beaker only one high rise hotel had damage in Christchurch.
              Plus the few thousand houses with cracked and unrepairable concrete foundations, including my own.


            7. Then it is a shame your house did not have an engineer foundation designed for it at that specific location like a wind turbine does eh andyS. You may want to invest against that slim earthquake risk next time. The big fat bordering on inevitable risks from climate change, what do you think our avoidance and mitigation responses to that should be andyS?

            8. Andy. It occurs to me that the tallest building in Christchurch and the one in many ways most analogous to a wind turbine is still functioning, still standing proud on the skyline and I haven’t heard any reports as to any damage or repairs required. It was also very close to the epicentre of the Feb 22 quake.
              And then of course there is the Windflow turbine at Gebbies Pass, also undamaged.

            9. Andrew H
              Which building that is standing proud on the skyline do you refer to?
              I know of the Gondola and the TV mast. Neither bare any resemblance to a wind turbine

            10. I mean the TV tower.

              It is 100m tall and its primary purpose is to hold equipment up in the air. Hence, it sits on an engineered steel structure where function defines form. This is why it is far more analogous to a wind turbine than the multi-storey hotels and thousands of dwellings that you mention.

              It was close to the epicentre on 22/02/11 but is built on rock (as will Mt Cass turbines be) which is not subject to the seismic amplifications felt in the Christchurch alluvial basin.

              But – to put it more simply – this additional concern of yours about the “folly” of building wind turbines, like so many of the views you express here, is simply unfounded.

            11. So the TV tower, a leightweight pylon type structure, is analogous to a single tower hosting three blades that have wingspans that can be of similar size to a commercial jet?

              I don’t think so

              Funny that a very large percentage of offshore wind turbines in the UK are requiring very expensive remedial action on the grouting bases.

              Good luck with selling your dodgy products to mum and dad investors as we sell off NZ energy assets.

            12. Funny that a very large percentage of offshore wind turbines in the UK are requiring very expensive remedial action on the grouting bases.

              This, of course, requires evidence. Other than ‘comment on thread at Bishop Hill’ or ‘something James Delingpole was on about last week’.

              I suspect that no-one reading any of the above is likely to hold andy in any great esteem as a producer of such evidence. I also note that none of his claims to date on this thread has been borne out by reality. I wonder why?

              Anyway, having realised that, on the strength of the performances above, he’d never find it, I went looking myself.

              Here’s a link to the relevant article. Grouting problem identified. Grouting problem assumed fixed for future construction, remedial action still required for some existing turbines.

              Since I’ve done the work for you, andy, please provide evidence of any nascent industry, specifically including all those you favour, that was not subject to any similar incidents in its developmental phase.

              (It’s funny how in Denierworld even properly qualified and trained Engineers lack the skills to do their jobs properly, at least if – and generally only if – they happen to in anyway serve the the perceived interests of the MarxoWarmoWWFSorosGore empire. Still, it’s exactly the way they view Scientists, isn’t it?)

            13. Andy – an 80m tall commercial building in CHCH (eg PWC) has 21 floors of about 900sq.m. Concrete flooring plus some allowance for live load will weigh about 400 kg per sqm. So all up around 7,500 tonnes.
              Next to this I would venture to suggest that a 250 tonne wind turbine 125m tall could be described as light weight, whether you think so or not.

            14. AndrewH April 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm

              Andy – an 80m tall commercial building in CHCH (eg PWC) has 21 floors of about 900sq.m. Concrete flooring plus some allowance for live load will weigh about 400 kg per sqm. So all up around 7,500 tonnes.

              I am not sure the weight of the structure is the best indicator of its likelihood of earthquake damage, but I am not a structural engineer.

              I have heard that a 3 degree tilt on the wind turbine tower can cause bearing failure. I don’t have an authoritative source for this, so maybe you can shed some light.

              The best building material for new properties in Christchurch is wood built on wooden piles. Brick on concrete pads has fared worst overall. So a wind turbine is a tall, narrow structure embedded in a concrete base.
              I would have thought there was a huge amount of torque on that base imposed by the turbine blades.

              How much earthquake shaking would compromise that structure?

              Furthermore, it appears a large number of the turbines that are either built or are proposed in the south part of the North Island are in areas of high seismic risk.

              If there are studies of this risk then I’d be very interested to see them.

            15. Since you brought up weight in the first place I just responded with a bit of factual perspective.
              Yes weight is a fundamental in seismic loading. Another factor is symmetry (more is better) and things don’t get much more symmetrical than a tube.
              But the key point here is that wind turbines can be designed for seismic loads and the fact that New Zealand is earthquake prone is not a reason to avoid wind energy.

            16. AndrewH April 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm

              But the key point here is that wind turbines can be designed for seismic loads and the fact that New Zealand is earthquake prone is not a reason to avoid wind energy.

              In the absence of any evidence, I’ll just have to take your word for it.,

              Good luck with the investors and the law suits when the proverbial hits the windmill.

  7. Wind farms do not cause long-term damage to bird populations, study finds

    “It shows that there can be serious species-level impacts in the construction phase, so construction in the right place is absolutely key. But what it hasn’t shown is that windfarms are ‘bird blenders’. There is no impact from the turning of the blades,” said Martin Harper, the RSPB’s UK conservation director.

    Colour me unsurprised. It’s always struck me as highly unlikely that a highly-evolved suite of species (i.e. birds) that have already adapted to maneuver through complex interstices that continuously reshape themselves dynamically in strong winds (i.e. trees) could be taken out by giant turbine blades that are nothing if not, um, obvious.

    It’s also always struck me that there are many who seem greatly exercised at the allegedly dire impact of wind farms on bird populations who seem remarkably oblivious to the windscreens of their landrovers, the associated front-grilles, bumpers, tyres, and even the windows of their houses, known killers of our avian friends all.

    Not to mention all their bloody dogs, cats, and their apparent complete satisfaction with clearing hundreds of hectares of native forests – i.e. places where birds will actually, you know, live – per year in order to provide them with the necessities of life, such as downy-soft, scented 2 ply to wipe their highly discriminating bottoms with!

    In fact, when I see many of those who claim such passionate adherence to the cause of our avian friends doing anything at all about any of the other items on this list I may start considering that their concern might perhaps be something other than blatant opportunism.

      1. I do get rather tired of those on your side of the argument repeatedly raising crocodile tears over the welfare of creatures – human or otherwise – whose interests are generally the subject of utter contempt on your part, at least where they may be foolhardy enough to be mown down by the BAU processes of economics you so idolise.

        I’m reminded of, yet again, of the dread Monckton, ridiculing concerns over the deaths of polar bears:

        Four dead polar bears. Oo-er. Golly gosh. Shiver, shiver. Hold the front page. And what have we got, in fact? Four dead polar bears. Did any of these polar bears, according to the paper he was quoting, die because they were trying to find the ice — or, I should say — farnd the arse. No. They died because there was a big storm with high winds and high waves, and they got swamped. Or, as we scientists call it, shit happens. [Crowd laughs]

        Note the ‘crowd laughs’ bit? Because this crowd doesn’t give a shit about Polar Bears, not one little solitary iota of the tiniest fleck of it, and hold in outright contempt anybody who does. How they adore his Lordship’s facetious derision, not just for the notion that the deaths might be sheeted home to climate change at all, but for the very idea that the deaths of these animals are of any concern at all!

        Incidentally, even this is ‘hurr hurr, it was a storm’ gloating is, unsurprisingly, wrong:

        Wendy Carlisle: The scientific paper Lord Monckton cites does not say that the polar bears drowned because of a big storm. The paper suggests that the polar bears most likely drowned because there was less sea ice for them to seek refuge on because of climate change, and that the drowned polar bears could be statistically significant. The paper goes on to say ‘We further suggest that drowning-related deaths of polar bears may increase in the future if the observed trend of regression of pack-ice and/or longer open water periods continues.’

        Lord Monckton is not one to let the facts stand in the way of a show.

        Incidentally, note the phrase ‘we scientists’ in his palaver?

        1. The difference between the Golden Eagle “zombie argument” and the Polar Bear argument is that thousands of Golden Eagles have been killed by wind turbines in the US, and some in Tasmania are close to extinction.

          Meanwhile, the Polar Bear population is thriving, and its main threat is from hunting.

          The images of Polar Bears drowning to due to “global warming” is pure BS, of course. Notice the statement “may increase” above.

          1. I must say you’ve outdone yourself on this one, andy! Would the reason that you’re not wiping Golden Eagles off the bonnet of your car have anything to do with them not occurring in your country, do you think?

            They do occur in mine, as you’ve noted, where they’re known as Wedge-tailed Eagles, and are only under threat in Tasmania, where historic bounties (” ‘im were worryin’ moy lambs”) drastically reduced their numbers. Back on the mainland their IUCN status is ‘least concern’.

            Here’s the Australian Government’s report of the impact of Wind Farms on the birds. And here’s its conclusion –

            The cumulative impacts of collision with turbines on the overall population of Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagles, predicted by the modelling for current and presently proposed wind farms within the species’ range, are very small and it is thus highly likely that their effects would be masked by normal fluctuations in the population due to natural environmental variables. However, mortality due to turbine collision is a negative impact on the species that would be expected to increase further if the number of wind farms continues to grow.

            But since these results are based on modelling the findings are all bullshit anyway, right, andy? 😉 And since, accordingly, we can’t really know what’s happening to the birds at all we certainly need not do anything about alarmist claims regarding their alleged plight, right? Notice the statement ‘would be expected to increase’ above. ‘Pure BS’, then! Done and dusted…

            (Being a Denier really is a breeze, isn’t it? There’s so little mental effort involved! And no research required at all…)

            1. What do you mean ‘no research required at all’ andyS reads both Bishops Hill AND Dellingpole.
              Bill, I think you owe andyS an apology!

            2. Yes, I suspect anyone who actually had the slightest interest in birds living in our part of the world wouldn’t be borrowing rants – and species names – from UK blogs.

              Still, I’m sure andy’s concerns for the fate of our feathered friends are at least as deep-rooted and sincere as his concerns for the fate of the Greeks…

            3. On the comparison of bird kill rates through various human activities (USA numbers)

              • Vehicles: 60 million – 80 million
              • Buildings and Windows: 98 million – 980 million
              • Powerlines: tens of thousands – 174 million
              • Communication Towers: 4 million – 50 million
              • Wind Generation Facilities: 10,000 – 40,000

              Avian Collisions with Wind Turbines:
              A Summary of Existing Studies and
              Comparisons to Other Sources of Avian
              Collision Mortality in the United States


              Conclusion: Wind farms contribute minutely to the overall death of birds through human activities.


            4. An Oregon wind farm developer is applying for the legal right to kill Golden Eagles.
              This is a protected species in the US

              if an Oil Company did this then Greenpeace et al would be up in arms, yet we hear nothing from any of you.

              The Green movement is a two faced bunch of hypocrits with their fingers in the wind energy till.

            5. ….And AndyS blogs for the right to deny AGW in the face of the evidence which, if unchecked, will kill a lot more of your Golden Eagles than all wind mills we might ever build combined, plus decimate the living conditions of a vast number of species.
              Your comment is just the usual bladderdash. Its like saying the architect of a high riser is applying for the right to kill Golden Eagles because as evident buildings kill far more birds than any windmill ever did.

            6. Thomas,
              There is no architect applying to kill Golden Eagles
              Your contempt for natural life is only surpassed by your dogma to AGW religion.

              Where in your Bible does it claim that golden eagles will be killed by AGW?

            7. You know, andy, if you ever did learn to use google and to venture outside BishopWorld occasionally it might save you a lot of time spent with your pants tangled around your ankles and everyone pointing and laughing.

              In the idiot blogosphere I suppose a wind farm project may well ‘apply to kill Golden Eagles’, since this is the kind of over-wrought hysteria it thrives on, but those of us who can actually think will suspect that the truth of the matter is that they have applied to build a wind farm that may unfortunately kill Golden Eagles.

              Lo and behold

              West Butte Wind Power LLC’s 52 turbine wind power plant will be the first to official receive a legal permit to kill as many as three protected golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) over five years. The catch is that the company must contribute to eagle breeding programs for every bird killed, according to the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service’s draft

              Bloody Greenies and their endless regulations tying the hands of industry, eh?

              So, how will you choose to make a fool of yourself now?

              And I repeat, no-one here, including your allies, gives a moment’s credence to the notion that you give a damn about the birds’ welfare in the first place.

            8. AndyS: “Global warming may drive a quarter of land animals and plants to the edge of extinction by 2050, a major international study has warned.”

              This I am sure includes some major issues for your Golden Eagle population directly or indirectly through loss of food etc. So you can assume that a permit to mine coal and burn it in power plants is like a permit to kill a heck of a lot more wildlife that a windfarm ever can.

              And Bill is right on the money, you very likely don’t give a toss anyway…

            9. I did once suggest to to andyS that he may wish to read up on that Oregon Golden Eagle wind farm condition before attempting to use it to bolster his flimsy argument.
              Admittedly I was quite rude (so apologies to our host) but andyS was alerted, but out comes the zombie argument again without any shred of awareness or intelligence behind it.
              So andyS, what are we left with? You are in an idealogical huff about ACC so seek (without success) to impugn evidence for it, you rail against wind turbines trumpeting fabricated evidence of their harm, and through all of this you are to lazy to even go back and check the sources of your evidence. In fact I think the strongest argument you have come up with here is ‘I went to Cambridge you know’.
              I asked you once if you found your activity here in any way fulfilling, but its looking more like it is some sort of grim compulsive disorder for you.

  8. Judging from twenty years of hang gliding in the South Island, the strongest and most consistent winds are the ‘equinoctial gales’ in spring and autumn, with the westerlies and norwesters blasting across in regular frontal waves. There can be anticyclonic calm periods in winter, which would be a problem in a dry hydro year, but I think our winters are getting shorter, so the snow melt will come to the rescue sooner. Wind at ground level tends to die off overnight: thermal mixing during the day brings strong high-level winds down to the valleys again. Coastal sea breezes build up during the day and die off in the evening, unless boosted by the overall circulation. Wave effects would be important in siting any wind farm; the bounce set up by a ridge miles upwind can leave freaky calm spots when it’s howling elsewhere.
    I don’t think New Zealand is big enough to rely on wind from one end of the country compensating for the other; realistically it will be hydro backup or gas. gives six-hourly wind charts for the whole country if anyone wants to check

    1. That’s a good overview John. I gave up paragliding partly for the reason that I didn’t have the patience to get the wind right on the day.
      I do kiteboarding these days which is a safer and more reliable form of entertainment, but even then the coastal seabreezes don’t appear as often as I’d like

      Metvuw is my weather site of choice too.

    2. Wind at ground level tends to die off overnight: thermal mixing during the day brings strong high-level winds down to the valleys again.

      Which is more or less what I was saying above….at ridge tops the wind just keeps on blowing. Some diurnal variation, some seasonal, but nothing like what is perceived in the valleys.
      The effects of any hydro dry year will be very much reduced by the wind that blows in the previous spring, summer and autumn – as well as winter.

  9. @Beaker: .”…. I asked you once if you found your activity here in any way fulfilling, but its looking more like it is some sort of grim compulsive disorder for you.”

    Of all the denier morons who have polluted this site, AndyS might even take the prize for the largest quantity of irrational dribble posted on it. What an honour!

  10. Of course, Gareth’s photo only supports andyS’ arguments – the notable lack of golden eagles means they must have been decimated by wind farms, whereas the lack of dead polar bears shows they are thriving.

    All is always well in the Denialiverse…

      1. There was a gentle breeze, Andrew. And most welcome it was after slogging up the path labelled “steep” (though it wasn’t steep by my definition, only warm in the sun with the bellbirds chiming in the bush). A lovely walk, it was.

        PS: Ring me sometime. I have an idea re Mt Cass…

      1. When, in a fit of hubris equal parts ridiculous and endearing, ‘The Artist’ formally known as Prince dropped his hitherto-utlised earthly moniker altogether, national youth radio station JJJ held an impromptu competition to come up with a new name, since no-one was likely to get through ‘The Artist’ etc. without uncontrolled sniggering.

        ‘Dave-o’ won.

        The chances of ‘Wedge-tailed’ not ending up as ‘Wedgie’ are zero in the land of ‘e’s and ‘o’s; the world of Jammies (you wear them to bed [maybe]), choccies, bikies, pokies (you lose your change to them), pollies (you lose your vote to them), Smoke-o (about 10.30), Milko (delivers it), Rabbitohs (used to deliver them, now play rugby), Johnno, Stevo, etc. …

        They’re still magnificent birds.

        The understated, deflating, ironic humour thing is one of the more endearing aspects of Australia, and one I always assumed we shared with out friends across the Tasman… 😉

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