Martinborough’s Hau Nui Wind Farm was the first of its kind in New Zealand. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED
In recognition of Global Wind Day on Saturday, GIANINA SCHWANECKE took a look at the country’s first wind farm.
It would have been a strange sight 22 years ago, when seven 45m white wind turbines first appeared along Martinborough’s southeastern hills.
The sleek-looking structures formed the first installation at New Zealand’s first commercial wind farm, Hau Nui.
There are now 15 Enercon E-40 wind turbines, after eight more were installed in 2004 during the second stage development of the energy hub.
The site, owned and operated by Genesis Energy, provides power to up to 4200 homes.
“Genesis established the Hau Nui wind farm because the farm’s Wairarapa location is near-perfect for wind generation,” Genesis’ executive general manager generation and wholesale Tracey Hickman said.
South Wairarapa is recognised for its significant wind energy potential, and the Hau Nui site is acknowledged as one of the best wind farm sites in the world, she said.
The May 2001 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority report Review of New Zealand Wind Energy Potential to 2015, cited the Wairarapa hills and coast area as having the second-highest potential energy output in New Zealand.
Hickman said Hau Nui played a useful supporting role in the company’s wider electricity generation portfolio.
“As New Zealand transitions to a lower carbon future in the coming years, wind energy from projects like Hau Nui, and our recently announced wind farm partnership with Tilt at Waverley in South Taranaki, are helping grow New Zealand’s renewable generation mix,” she said.