Windmills of change

Published: Monday 31 March 2003

The New Zealand government proposes to promote the development of two wind farms by providing them Kyoto Protocol climate change credits for the energy produced. While one is a 36-mega watt (mw) extension of TrustPower's Tararua wind farm, the other is a 40-80 mw project of state-owned Meridian Energy.

Power generated from these wind farms would also eliminate the greenhouse gas emissions linked with gas- or coal-fired plants. The credits would help the wind farms tide over initial financial difficulties. Promissory notes for Kyoto Protocol emission units will be given to the power companies depending on the final amount of power generation.

The projects are expected to deliver emission reductions of up to one million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the protocol's first commitment period of 2008-2012. Estimates of the global price of carbon range from us $5 to us $10 per tonne. New Zealand produces about 70-90 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and expects to earn about us $800 million from carbon sink credits generated by its huge commercial forests.

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