November 15, 2022
Small lines slow renewable energy projects
Former infrastructure minister Shane Jones is warning there needs to be a huge investment in transmission capacity if large scale investment in wind and solar energy is to succeed.
A consortium led by Spanish company BlueFloat Energy has revealed plans for giant wind farms off Taranaki and the Waikato west coast, as part of a nation-wide programme to develop up to 5GW of offshore wind.
Mr Jones says increases in wind and solar power are inevitable, but as those looking at harnessing Taitokerau’s abundant sunshine have learned, much depends on the Transpower distribution network.
“Whilst the investment might happen, the ability to transmit the energy from the site of generation, Tama-nui-te-rā or Tawhirimatea, you can’t guarantee there’s enough industry next door so you have to transmit the energy and at the moment for a lot of our provincial areas, and enormous pipe is needed and they’ve got the figurative equivalent of a garden hose and that’s why a lot of developments haven’t proceeded,” he says.