Billy Fung

A very windy day in NZ

Billy Fung / 2018-04-20

The storm that hit in April 2018. These are the major wind turbines located in New Zealand, I didn’t include smaller ones because they’re such a small percentage of overall.

Be patient, the plot takes a bit of time to load.


A fun exercise would be to try to guess geographically which wind turbines are grouped together.

Windiest spots

I’m not sure of the exact details that go into deciding which spot is best for a wind turbine, but I would imagine one looks at spots that are consistently windy.

Mill Creek and West Wind

The Mill Creek and West Wind wind farm are both located west of Wellington, on the west coast of the North Island. They are about 10km apart and from the plot above, they follow a similar generation pattern given they probably experience the same kind of winds.

Tararua Wind and Te Apiti

These two wind farms are located East of Palmerston North, within the valley that forms between the Tararua Ranges and Ruahine Ranges. A valley is naturally a good spot for wind because the natural features direct wind like a funnel.

Te Uku

This farm is near Raglan, also on the West Coast of the North Island.

White Hill

The only significant wind farm on the South Island, this is located in Southland. The location allows us to view the difference in weather between North and South islands.

The Storm

So knowing where the wind farms are, we can tell that near Wellington, the winds on the 9th dropped down and it was quite the calm before the storm. On the 10th, the generation picks right up and stays at capacity for 2 days, which shows the storm in effect. Whereas Tararua Wind and Te Apiti do get a windy day on the 10th, the wind subsides in that geographic location by the 11th. This suggests that either the wind direction was affected by the valley, or the storm was more localised. But we are able to look at Te Uku, which lies further North compared to the other 4 NI (North Island) wind farms. Te Uku experiences still high winds, but not as consistent which may be due to location.

Lastly, looking at White Hill, we can see that the storm didn’t affect Southland at all, because there is no relatable story to be told from the data here. But it is important to think about how a southern signal could warn us of an incoming storm that is moving north. We could track highs and lows in wind generation through spots going from the South to the North, if we had more spots to look at.