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Stern Review: NZ MUST Invest in Renewable Energy

Sustainable Electricity Association New Zealand Inc


SEANZ. The Outcome of the Stern Review, is that New Zealand MUST Invest in Local Renewable Energy.

“A local renewable power revolution could solve New Zealand’s electricity needs, make up its carbon credit shortfall, and provide climate change solutions” said Dr Tony Bittar, chair of the Sustainable Electricity Association (SEANZ) commenting on the release of the Stern Review in the UK.

“The Stern report at last addresses the economic consequences of Global Warming and Climate Change. Many world leaders have hidden behind the premise that our economies will continue to grow, and life will continue as normal. Now with a leading UK economist stating that we must all invest heavily if we are to mitigate the effects of Climate Change – we must kick start the New Zealand investment. We cannot wait on others before taking action”, stated Dr Bittar.

“The Prime Minister’s recent support for action to address climate change is very welcome. There is now a greater consensus on the need for real measures to reverse the adverse effects of Greenhouse gas emissions

Clearly the time for discussion and debate is over and we now need to see action plans” said Dr Bittar. We do not want to see officials produce yet more strategy documents for discussion – without spelling out action plans to implement the changes. The time for discussion is over – we need action now”, said Dr Bittar “ and sustainable distributed electricity generation is ready to play its part in New Zealand’s energy future”.

Promoting sustainable local electricity generation is one of the policies that we expect to see in the Government’s New Zealand Energy Strategy due for release in November 2006.

“People will have now started to get to grips with some aspects of the Stern Review, but we highlight a few of the key points below.

“The scientific evidence points to increasing risks of serious, irreversible impacts from climate change associated with business-as-usual (BAU) paths for emissions.”

“Emissions have been, and continue to be, driven by economic growth; yet stabilisation of greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere is feasible and consistent with continued growth.”

“Achieving these deep cuts in emissions will have a cost. The Review estimates the annual costs of stabilisation at 500-550ppm CO2 to be around 1% of GDP by 2050 - a level that is significant but manageable.”

“Policies are required to support the development of a range of low-carbon and high-efficiency technologies on an urgent timescale.”[1][

As concerns the potential of the nascent sustainable distributed generation sector Dr Bittar noted “ security of supply is about having a diverse portfolio of generation assets. Sustainable distributed generation should be a fundamental part of any integrated electricity generation portfolio. Other countries are waking up to the possibilities it offers. It’s about time that New Zealand did the same”


Local Renewable Energy is a term coined by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to describe what has been traditionally known as Distributed Renewable Energy. Distributed Energy is generated close to the point of use, unlike our current generation model, that has a series of large generators, often in remote areas, at long distances from the end user.


[1] Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, Executive Summary, HM Treasury, UK, Oct 2006

ABOUT SEANZ - The Sustainable Electricity Association New Zealand Inc (SEANZ) is the trade association of companies supplying and installing renewable electricity generation technologies or “local energy” systems for householders, farmers and businesses. Local energy systems use solar, wind and water powered technologies, such as PV panels and turbines. Local energy systems are becoming the electricity generation technologies of choice for many urban and rural householders, businesses and communities.

SEANZ emerged from the New Zealand Photovoltaic Association Inc in recognition that its members supported and installed not only photovoltaic (PV) systems, but also wind turbines and small hydro.

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