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Govt skews market against renewable energy

Govt skews market against renewable energy

The Green Party is questioning the commitment of $21 million of taxpayers' money to carry out exploration work for private oil and gas companies.

The Government has announced that the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences will get $21 million for research into potential oil and gas deposits around New Zealand, in the hope that it would encourage private explorers to drill here. However no such assistance is given to renewable energy sources which compete with fossil fuels.

"This is a massive subsidy for unsustainable, climate changing energy sources," Green Co-leader and Energy spokesperson, Jeanette Fitzsimons said today. "Why is the Government still subsidising the fossil fuel industry while supposedly having a commitment to sustainable and renewable energy?

"Wind and solar are just reaching competitiveness with fossil fuels. This tilts the playing field against them. There is nowhere near this level of funding going into researching renewable energy sources, even though common sense tells us that renewables are the way of the future.

"NZ already has one of the most favourable tax regimes in the world for oil and gas exploration. Now the benefits of state funded research are to be handed to the industry on a plate. At the very least, the Government should put a similar amount into wind measurements across the country and make those results available to prospective wind farm companies.

We have a renewable energy strategy with a target of 30PJ of new renewable energy by 2012, but it is only words - it is not being funded.

"It is incredible at a time when the bad energy decisions of the past have come back to haunt New Zealand, that this Government can only fund a $1.4 million increase to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), but has $21 million to subsidise the oil and gas industries.

"The Budget contained just $200,000 to encourage solar water heating and nothing for wind or biomass. It makes a mockery of the Government's commitment to a Sustainable Development Strategy which identified energy as one of the four key areas for action."

Jeanette will be discussing these issues in her address to the Wind Energy Association's AGM on Wednesday at 5.30pm, Turnbull House, Wellington.

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