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International Energy Experts Come To Wellington

Media Release

International biofuels and electric vehicles experts come to Wellington

Six international speakers will join local experts to discuss the future of biofuels and electric vehicles in New Zealand at a conference in Wellington next week.

The conference, hosted by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and principal sponsor Meridian Energy, will look at how New Zealand can best use biofuels and electric vehicles as part of a sustainable transport system.

“We have just the right conditions in New Zealand to make these two alternative fuel sources really work,” said MikeUnderhill, Chief Executive of EECA.
“We can source biofuels from by-products of existing industries – namely the dairy and meat processing industries - and in the longer term we have excellent potential for sustainable ‘second generation’ biofuels such as converting cellulose from forestry waste or purpose grown trees to ethanol, and using other renewable sources like sewage algae.

“Our electricity system is already made up of a high proportion of renewable energy, and this is set to grow under the New Zealand Energy Strategy which sets a target of 90% of our electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025. Using our low carbon electricity to power our cars would significantly reduce our overall emissions,” Mr Underhill said.

Principal sponsor Meridianbrings expertise in the electric vehicle space to the conference. K-J Kells, Meridian Energy’s Electric Vehicles Programme leader wants to encourage New Zealanders to recognise the immediate potential for electric vehicles and the benefits they present.

“New Zealandis well placed to lead the world in embracing electric vehicles and ensuring that the country benefits by spearheading zero emission motoring,” said K-J Kells.

“The New Zealand Energy Strategy assumes that the sale of electric vehicles will reach 5% of market share by 2020 and plateau at 60% by 2040. That may seem a long way off but Meridian Energy is committed to demonstrating the viability of electric vehicles in New Zealandand that they are a possibility now.”

The conference will cover a number of areas including international experiences of introducing biofuels, sourcing sustainable biofuels, and biofuels as an aviation fuel.

For electric vehicles, speakers will outline the situation overseas, the consumer case for electric vehicles and the potential for electric vehicles in New Zealand.

The international speakers:
• Chelsea Sexton is an independent consumer advocate for electric vehicles and also advises manufacturers on their electric vehicle deployment programme globally. Chelseais famous for her EV1 crusade as documented in the film 'Who killed the electric car?' Chelsea is a sponsored guest of Meridian Energy.
• Edward Kjaerleads Southern California Edison's extensive electric vehicle programme and has been instrumental in the roll out of electric vehicles globally. Edward is a sponsored guest of Meridian Energy.
• Jan Brentebraten, is the Director Flexifuel (FFV) / Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV) Strategy for Ford Europe and is responsible for creating and implementing a coordinated FFV/AFV strategy and plan for Ford Europe.
• Bill Ortsis a Research Leader at the US Department of Agriculture for a group developing biofuels products from non-corn feedstocks - most notably cellulosics – which addresses the food versus fuel question
• John Plazais the President and CEO of Imperium Renewables and is responsible for the day to day operations and strategic direction of the company. Imperium Renewables are the company that produced the fuel for Virgin Atlantic's recently successful flight using renewable fuel.
• Darrin Morganoversees strategy development and execution for Boeing Commercial Airplanes' Sustainable Biofuels Programme. The programme aim is to drive market viability of sustainable aviation fuels. Prior to this role in The Boeing Company, he helped lead market requirement development for emerging airplane models as well as forecasting and competitive analysis for airplane services
The conference is on Wednesday 2 April at Te Papa in Wellington. To register visit
Vicki Connor
Senior Advisor Marketing and Communications


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