Hydro, Geo, Wind Key To Kiwi Renewable Gains

New Zealand generated nearly three-quarters of its electricity from renewable sources in 2010, the highest level in 12 years, the government said. The contribution from renewables had fallen in recent years as low rainfall put a crimp in hydroelectric production, long New Zealand’s chief source of electricity. But plentiful rain in 2010 boosted hydro while new wind and geothermal energy projects also contributed to the increase in renewable sourcing.

“We are making good progress developing the full potential of our diverse portfolio of energy,” said Acting Minister of Energy and Resources Hekia Parata. “We are well on the way to achieving our target of 90 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2025.” As we reported, just last month New Zealand said that in the first quarter of 2011, renewables accounted for 79 percent of the electricity generated in the country.

New Zealand geothermal

image via Contact Energy

Parata said that since 2006, wind energy generation increased more than 25 percent, while geothermal electricity was up by more than 20 percent. The country is also looking into advancing its use of solar and biofuels, in addition to generating even more power from hydro.

With renewables contributing 74 percent of the nation’s electricity, that leaves fossil fuels contributing just over a quarter to the total electricity generated. Even as rewewables grow, the government said, some fossil fuel use will be necessary in order to meet peak demand.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.