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Wind in energy conference's sails

The annual Wind Energy Conference will be taking over Hamilton's Claudelands Event Centre next month, and its lineup is bulging with a mix of homegrown and international presentations.

It all starts with an organised trip to the nearby Te Uku wind farm on April 2, followed by two days of conference sessions covering subjects such as the big picture for wind energy, future prospects, community and consenting, wind forecasting, operations, wind turbine technology, health and safety, grid connections and electricity markets.

With 66 speakers and 33 exhibitors, it's expected to draw more than 300 industry and business delegates.

“With over 20 percent of delegates expected from overseas and a busy exhibition hall alongside the conference, this is a big industry conference for the country,” says Eric Pyle, CEO of event organiser the NZ Wind Energy Association.

Key speakers

Hon Phil Heatley, Minister of Energy and Resources
Heatley will speak in the main keynote session.

Dr Russel Norman, NZ Green Party co-Leader - Green energy and green jobs in the NZ economy
Norman is a strong advocate of harnessing New Zealand’s strategic advantage in clean energy and exporting this to a world hungry for greentech solutions.

Dr Lawrence Jones, Alstom Grid – Issues and solutions; integrating renewables around the globe
Jones is the world’s foremost expert on integrating renewables into grid systems. He led a study looking into renewables integration and management tools used by 33 power systems in 18 countries, including information from New Zealand and Australia. He will share his insights on integrating renewables and place them in the New Zealand context.

Prof Simon Chapman – Sorting fact from fiction; Psychogenic aspects of ‘wind turbine syndrome’
Chapman is Professor in Public Health at the University of Sydney and a high profile figure with a track record on issues such as tobacco and health research. He has also been openly critical of the health claims put forward by wind farm opponents. This will be a unique opportunity to hear a health expert’s view on the debate currently raging in countries such as Australia and the US, and across the world wide web.

Dr Royden Somerville QC - Making the NPS Renewable Electricity Generation work in practice
Dr Somerville chaired the Board that developed the draft National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation provided to the Minister for the Environment. One year on from when the Minister launched the NPS-REG at the NZ Wind Energy Conference Dr Somerville will give his views on an effective implementation programme, different agencies’ roles and the industry’s role in implementing the NPS-REG.

Shonagh Kenderdine (recently retired Environment Court Judge) – Community dynamics and consenting issues
Kenderdine’s experience includes hearing major wind farm consents. She will share her views on the consenting and community issues that need to be addressed to grow the number of wind farms in New Zealand, and some ideas on potential solutions. Kenderdine will also lead a panel debate on community and consenting issues.

Steve Bielby – Wind and gas, the perfect match?
Bielby, CEO of the NZ Gas Industry Company, will share with delegates his views on whether wind and gas generation could be the perfect match in an integrated electricity system.

Future Thinkers Forum
A lively panel debate featuring leading technologists and experts from around the world talking about what the wind industry will look like in 2030.