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Energy strategy will bring wide benefits (5 PRs)

Thursday 27 September 2001 Media Statement

New Zealanders will see economic, social and environmental gains from the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy released today, says Energy Minister Pete Hodgson.

"The benefits of more efficient energy use will include improved economic productivity, healthier communities in warmer, drier homes, lower carbon dioxide emissions, greater economic resilience through more diverse energy supply, and improved transport systems," Mr Hodgson said.

The strategy’s two main targets are a 20 percent improvement in New Zealand’s energy efficiency and an increase of between 19 and 42 percent (25 - 55 petajoules) in energy from renewable sources by 2012.

Five action programmes for government, energy supply, industry, buildings and appliances, and transport will help achieve the strategy targets.

"The strategy promotes practical ways to make energy efficiency, energy conservation and renewable energy mainstream solutions," said Mr Hodgson. "This is a key step in the path to a sustainable energy future for New Zealand.

"Current energy trends are not sustainable. New Zealand is predicted to use 20 percent more energy in 2012 than now, with an increasing reliance on fossil fuel energy sources such as oil, gas and coal. This will push up carbon dioxide emissions to at least 45 percent above 1990 levels by 2012."

The strategy’s aim to increase renewable energy supply by 19 - 42 percent by 2012 will reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions and help protect the environment. A specific target will be determined following further analysis and consultation.

Mr Hodgson says this will require adopting more new renewable sources of energy ¡Xsuch as solar, wind and biomass ¡X which New Zealand has in abundance but has been slow to utilise.

The largely voluntary nature of the action programmes means the strategy’s success requires participation by all New Zealanders. Mr Hodgson said it was encouraging that the vast majority of 339 submissions received on the draft strategy supported its goals.

New funding required for the strategy’s first five years is estimated at about $79 million. A combination of government and private funding will be sought.

A National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy is required by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority is managing strategy development and implementation in association with the Ministry for the Environment. The strategy will be reviewed within five years.

For a full copy of the strategy, action plans for the five key sectors or other information call 0800 111 127 or see www.eeca.govt.nz

ENDS

Renewable energy central to strategy

Renewable energy systems will ultimately be the main source of energy for a sustainable economy, says Energy Minister Pete Hodgson.

The renewable energy target in the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, released today, is for an increase of between 19 and 42 percent in energy from renewable sources by 2012.

"Increasing renewable energy will reduce New Zealand's dependence on fossil fuels, reduce pollution, provide a more sustainable energy supply and improve the resilience of the economy by diversifying our energy sources," Mr Hodgson said.

"New Zealand has a high level of sustainable energy supply due to our hydro-based electricity system and there are some stand-out examples of wind energy and industrial biomass use. But the share of consumer energy provided from renewables has declined over the last decade. It is projected to decline further unless we accelerate our adoption of renewable energy technologies."

A specific renewables target will be set after further work and consultation. Mr Hodgson said recommendations on detailed targets and measures, and any necessary legislation, will be made to government about the middle of next year.

"Setting a target is very complex and many submitters on the draft strategy asked for the opportunity to contribute further. The process will tie in with climate change policy development in the next few months and will be informed by better information on energy forecasts, renewable energy opportunities and costs."

The low end of the target range for growth in renewables is likely to be met by increased geothermal, woody biomass, hydro and wind energy providing electricity and industrial process heat. The higher end would require further expansion of renewable sources of process heat and electricity, plus an increase in solar water heating.

Mechanisms being evaluated to achieve the renewables target include:

- tradeable renewable energy requirements for all energy retailers;

- tradeable fossil fuel use restrictions for all electricity generators and other energy suppliers;

- tradeable renewable energy requirements for electricity retailers only;

- support for sectors such as solar hot water and renewable industrial process heat;

- voluntary measures such as negotiated industry agreements or green pricing of renewable energy.

For the strategy’s full action plan for energy supply see www.eeca.govt.nz

Thursday 27 September 2001 Media Statement

Industry energy efficiency boosts production, profits

Achieving best practice in energy efficiency will cut costs for industry and boost international competitiveness, says Energy Minister Pete Hodgson.

The National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, released today, includes an industry action plan. Incentive and support measures are designed to increase management focus on energy efficiency and create a culture of continuous improvement.

"The key aims are progressive energy efficiency improvement across industry, to meet international best practice, and maximum cost-effective use of renewable energy," Mr Hodgson said. " Smart energy management is a basic part of staying competitive. It is one of the lowest-cost, most worthwhile investments a business can make."

The Strategy aims to improve New Zealand’s overall energy efficiency by 20 percent by 2012 and increase the amount of renewable energy used. Mr Hodgson said its voluntary nature ensured individual businesses could make the most cost-effective decisions for their situation.

"An important part of the strategy is a business energy efficiency commitment programme for small to medium enterprises. Financial incentives could include accelerated depreciation for energy efficiency measures that follow an energy audit, and subsidies for the audits themselves."

Other measures in the strategy include minimum energy performance standards and labelling for generic industry equipment, sector energy efficiency studies, international benchmarking, and research on woody biomass utilisation. Industry training support will address skill shortages in energy management, auditing and instrumentation.

Seven hundred of New Zealand's largest organisations are already part of the Energy-Wise Companies Campaign, run by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. Since 1994 campaign members have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 184,000 tonnes per year, and in 2000, 150 companies reported savings of $11 million in energy costs.

For the Strategy’s full action plan for Industry see www.eeca.govt.nz

Thursday 27 September 2001 Media Statement

Comfort and health improves with better buildings

All New Zealand homes could have a national energy efficiency rating in 10 years under proposals in the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy.

The strategy, released today by Energy Minister Pete Hodgson, includes a range of measures to improve the energy performance of homes, commercial buildings and appliances.

It includes plans to pilot a home energy efficiency rating system that provides information on the energy efficiency of a home to buyers.

The strategy aims to improve New Zealand’s overall energy efficiency by 20 percent by 2012 and increase our use of renewable energy.

Key objectives in the strategy’s buildings programme are to:

- retrofit pre-1977 houses with cost-effective energy efficiency measures, such as insulation, within 15 years;

- achieve a mean energy performance in existing commercial buildings of less than 150 kilowatt-hours a square metre within 15 years;

- have new homes able to maintain an internal temperature between 18 and 25 degrees at reasonable cost, without significant use of heating or cooling energy, within 15 years;

- have new commercial buildings achieve a mean energy performance of less than 100 kilowatt-hours a square metre; and

- improve appliance energy efficiency to best practice.

"Slow building turnover in New Zealand means better standards in new buildings are important in the long term, but most gains will come from improving existing buildings," Mr Hodgson said. "By funding improvement projects, more targeted information and new market incentives the strategy aims to bring all existing buildings to acceptable energy efficiency standards over 15 years."

Further improving the building code to require optimum energy efficiency would enable most new homes to maintain a year-round internal temperature between 18 - 25 degrees without additional heating. 'Self-heating' houses and more energy efficient appliances could halve the energy use of new home owners.

“Energy cost reductions and greatly improved comfort can also be achieved in older homes. Seventy percent of homes were built before any insulation standards and New Zealand homes are often colder than the World Health Organisation recommends,” Mr Hodgson said.

“Insulation, draught-proofing and energy efficient appliances could reduce energy costs in more recent homes by around 20 percent and by up to 60 percent in older houses.”

A major focus for new commercial buildings is increasing the priority given to energy efficiency during the design stage, when improving energy efficiency would cost little or no extra.

"Despite their recent upgrading, commercial building regulations in New Zealand still set minimal energy performance requirements compared to many countries," said Mr Hodgson. “Improving things like heating, lighting and air-conditioning will reduce energy bills and make work places more comfortable for employees.”

Other strategy measures include a Housing New Zealand energy efficiency upgrade programme, and continuation or redesign of residential energy efficiency assistance programmes.

For the strategy’s full action plan for buildings see www.eeca.govt.nz

Thursday 27 September 2001 Media Statement

Energy leadership shown with tough targets

Setting tougher energy efficiency targets for its own operations shows the Government is serious about creating a sustainable energy future for New Zealand, said Minister of Energy Pete Hodgson.

Releasing the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy today, Mr Hodgson said central government is committed to improving its energy efficiency by 15 percent within five years.

Local government is being encouraged to do the same through the Energy-Wise Councils partnership. This programme has already helped local bodies such as the Hamilton and Christchurch city councils cut their energy costs.

"The public sector has demonstrated its ability to show leadership this winter, when it achieved a 15 percent electricity savings target set for it during the period of possible supply shortages," Mr Hodgson said. "The Government is now pushing the sector to make as much as possible of that saving permanent."

Mr Hodgson said public sector energy management initiatives funded through the Crown Energy Efficiency Loan scheme had already proven their value.

"Schools like St Patrick's College Silverstream and Rongotai College are shaving thousands of dollars a year off their energy bills. Hospitals are big energy users. Making energy efficiency improvements throughout the public sector will mean money spent on electricity or gas can be spent on schoolbooks or healthcare instead."

Mr Hodgson said as well as improving the energy efficiency of its own agencies the Government had to lead the development of public policy promoting wise energy use.

Action to achieve this will include information, education and monitoring ¡X such as guidance on solar orientation for new housing, information on managing the environmental impacts of renewable energy projects and support for community energy efficiency programmes.

For the strategy’s full action plan for Government see www.eeca.govt.nz

Thursday 27 September 2001 Media Statement

Energy strategy to foster changes in transport

Tackling the growth of energy use in the transport sector is vital if New Zealand is to have a sustainable energy future, says Energy Minister Pete Hodgson.

Transport energy use grew 3.5 percent, on average, from 1990-1999 - the highest of the key sectors targeted in the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy released today.

The strategy aims for a 20 percent improvement in the country’s energy efficiency by 2012. Fundamental changes in transport habits and technologies are necessary to help achieve this target.

Key objectives of the strategy’s transport programme are to:

- reduce energy use through reducing the need to travel;

- progressively improve the energy performance of the transport fleet; and

- improve the provision and uptake of low energy transport options.

Domestic transport accounts for 40 percent of New Zealand’s total energy use and 42 percent of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions - the highest of any OECD country. Average occupancy of vehicles is only 1.6 people, dropping to 1.1 during travel to work, and one third of all car trips are less than two kilometres.

“The quickest, most effective way to reduce transport carbon dioxide emissions, which grew by 32 percent between 1990 and 1999, is for New Zealanders to make more energy efficient travel choices,” said Mr Hodgson.

"The strategy will put more emphasis on measures promoting attractive, low energy transport options such as cycling, walking and public transport. For example, getting children walking to school is one of the easiest ways to reduce car use. Thirty seven percent of Auckland and Wellington children are driven to school, and over half of these trips under two kilometres."

One measure to combat this is “walking school buses’ where adults accompany groups of children on a walking route to school.

For commuters, increased tele-working and internet-based rideshare programmes offer potential energy savings.

Improving the fuel efficiency vehicles is also a major focus of the strategy. Work in this area focuses on providing better information on vehicle fuel consumption and investigating the development of fuel efficiency standards. Analysis of fuel efficiency standards will be presented to Government later this year as part of its climate change programme.

“A long-term aim is eco-efficient vehicles that use less fuel and have reduced overall environmental impacts," Mr Hodgson said. “Better fleet management will be important in achieving this.”

Changes to the transport sector will be gradual because the existing infrastructure and vehicles are long-lasting assets. It will also take time to change transport use patterns ingrained in people’s habits and decision-making.

“Ultimately, completely new energy systems need to power our vehicles if we are to achieve energy sustainability. Though New Zealand has little effect on the pace of technology changes, such as hybrid vehicles and fuel cell development, we need to be active in adapting, trialing and adopting such innovations.”

The strategy recognises that many of the changes required for sustainability are part of improving the overall functioning and efficiency of the land transport system, which is the aim of government transport policy.

"Perhaps most important is the application of a more rational basis for pricing transport," Mr Hodgson said. "Having prices that increasingly reflect the full cost of energy supply, including environmental impacts, would help underpin all of the strategy’s transport objectives. The adoption of new technology, such as electronic road charging systems, will also send signals to alter travel behaviour and steer investment towards energy efficient options."

For the strategy’s full action plan for transport see www.eeca.govt.nz

ENDS


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