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Marine Energy sets sail in Draft Energy Strategy

Media Statement

Marine Energy sets sail in the Draft Energy Strategy

The Aotearoa Wave and Tidal Energy Association is pleased to see the acknowledgement of the potential for marine energy – wave and tidal energy – to contribute to New Zealand’s future energy supply and support its requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

The Association’s Executive Officer, Dr John Huckerby, said that the Association welcomes the publication of the draft Strategy and will contribute to the discussion and formulation of the final Strategy.

“We are pleased to see the announcement of a marine energy deployment fund. Marine energy technologies are not yet commercially competitive with existing technologies but the pace of development is fast. The first commercial wave farm will be operational in Portugal within the next year. Whilst overseas technology developments are more advanced than marine energy technologies being developed in New Zealand, about half of the current domestic projects are developing new technologies. We would like to see these technologies get the same chance, as those projects seeking to import overseas technologies. We cannot afford to wait for overseas technologies to mature. Hopefully, the contestable fund will seek to balance support for domestic and overseas technologies. In any event we anticipate that marine energy projects will be commercially viable in much less than the 10-20 years forecast in the draft Strategy”.

The draft Strategy indicates that R & D investment in marine energy resource assessments is a high priority. “This is a welcome - resource assessments need to be tied to the types of technologies that will be deployed. Further New Zealand needs to develop both the capacity and capabilities to develop marine energy, including R & D, deployment, operations and maintenance skills. New Zealand’s companies and workforce has shown itself to be creative, adaptable and outcome-focussed in the past – as with the America’s Cup. We need to harness the skills and imagination to developing marine energy projects.

Lastly, the draft Strategy acknowledges the difficulties that wind and hydro have suffered in the RMA consenting process. The first consent applications for marine energy projects have just been submitted and the hearing are scheduled for the New Year. The Government needs to give consideration to whether the RMA, which is principally aimed at environmental protection, is the best mechanism for allocation of space and marine resources for marine energy projects.”

AWATEA plans to work closely with Government to get the right incentives and policy package to secure the uptake of marine energy – from R & D to commercial operation. “AWATEA has already proposed a more detailed marine energy strategy to Government, which will support the implementation of the high-level objectives of the draft Strategy published today.”

The draft Strategy is a welcome and positive first step – much work remains to be done to secure marine energy its place in a diversified, carbon neutral energy supply portfolio.

ENDS

About AWATEA

Established in April 2006, the aim of the Aotearoa Wave and Tidal Energy Association (AWATEA) is to promote marine energy in New Zealand. Its members comprise marine energy project developers, major electricity and generators, marine industry sector participants, research organizations and interested individuals. AWATEA has a work programme to develop a number of initiatives, including developing a dedicated marine energy strategy.


Dr. John Huckerby, Executive Officer, AWATEA

Dr Huckerby is the founder and executive officer of AWATEA. He is also the Treasurer of the Energy Law Association and sits on a number of advisory boards, including the Royal Society of New Zealand President’s Panel for Energy.

He is also the director of Power Projects Limited, an energy industry consultancy advising overseas energy companies, domestic utilities, and public sector organizations on investments in New Zealand’s energy industry.

Dr Huckerby worked for Fletcher Challenge Energy, leading the team that evaluated the Mangahewa and Pohokura gas-condensate fields. Before coming to New Zealand, he worked in the United States, Eastern Europe, Saudi Arabia, Scandinavia and the North Sea.

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