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The theme of this year’s World Meteorological Day is “Powering our future with weather, climate and water”.  This highlights the critical roles of weather, climate and water services in powering a sustainable future for us and for generations to come.

The themes of sustainable power and energy seem quite pertinent this year, with the UN General Assembly also declaring 2012 the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All”.  The use of renewable energies has been growing in leaps and bounds, accounting for about half of the almost 200 gigawatts of new electricity capacity added globally during 2010. According to the International Energy Agency, the renewable energy electricity sector grew by 17.8 per cent between 2005 and 2009. It currently provides nearly 20 percent of total power generation in the world.

Of the renewable electricity sources, hydro power still represents the largest sector. However, wind power has grown the most in absolute terms. The Global Wind Energy Council says the world’s wind power capacity grew by 31 per cent in 2009.

(Source: The World Meteorological Organization, http://www.wmo.int)

New Zealand has 16 wind farms either operating or under construction. These currently have a combined installed capacity of 615 megawatts, supplying about 4% of New Zealand’s annual electricity generation. This is about the same amount of electricity as 180,000 New Zealand homes use in a year. Developers are exploring sites throughout New Zealand for new wind farms. (Source: New Zealand Wind Energy Association)
This image was captured at the Manawatu wind farm during the snowy 2011 winter.
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