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Soaring Energy Costs - Need For Renewable Energy

Soaring Energy Costs Highlight Need For Renewable Energy Sources

The soaring price of wholesale energy in the past fortnight will be an interesting test of industry self-regulation, Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

Power consumers face the possibility of sharply increased power bills as a result of lower than usual hydro-storage levels in the South Island.

"Will power companies introduce programmes to help their customers save energy, or will they just pass on the increased costs to households, who have no hedged price contracts?

"This is the time when so-called 'demand-side participation in the market' would be most beneficial. That is when power company customers offer back some of their contracted power at a good price and use alternatives, or do their annual maintenance."

The Government Policy Statement which specifies the outcomes expected from the industry under self-regulation, requires market rules to facilitate demand-side bidding.

"We have seen no evidence of this yet" said Ms Fitzsimons.

The Green MP also called for more investment in energy saving technologies and new renewable forms of energy.

"Climate change increases the likelihood of unpredictable lean years like this one when hydroelectric generating capacity is unable to meet winter heating demand," she said.

"Unless we diversify our energy sources by making more use of solar direct heat and installing more wind power and wood fired co-generation we will fall back on expensive, environmentally damaging fossil fuel burning generation to make up the shortfalls we're experiencing now."

"Burning more fossil fuel is not good for the environment, consumers' power bills, or for the Government's longer-term goal of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases."


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