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Security underlines National's energy policy

Security underlines National's energy policy

Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Energy Spokesman

14 August 2008

Security underlines National's energy policy

National Party Energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee says a National-led Government will maintain an unrelenting focus on security of energy supply.

"New Zealand has fantastic renewable resources like hydro and wind, and it's important that we develop those. But the lesson from this winter is that thermal electricity generation is essential in keeping the lights on."

Mr Brownlee and Party Leader John Key have officially launched the party's energy policy today.

"To prove the point, you need only look at this year's electricity usage. At times this winter thermal electricity was providing more than 50% of New Zealand's power needs.

"It is a great irony that if it were not for every bit of thermal generation running earlier this winter, we would have been in the dark, cold, and, in many cases, out of work.

"The reality is New Zealand relies on gas for security of electricity supply. Gas plants like the highly efficient e3p plant at Huntly can run around the clock. If the wind stops blowing and the water stops flowing, gas just keeps going.

"We also expect that our proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will result in no new coal stations being built - unless proven technologies for carbon capture and storage change the emissions profile of coal."

Mr Brownlee says that as part of the policy, National will be more ambitious for oil and gas exploration in this country.

"National is excited about the hydrocarbon resource potential that lies within New Zealand's borders. More than 1.2 million square kilometres of New Zealand's economic zone could have hydrocarbons underneath it. Our total petroleum potential could be as much as 24 billion barrels of oil equivalent."

National will also:

* Review the existing Crown minerals regime to examine the appropriate risk reward arrangements needed to fully develop New Zealand's domestic oil and gas industry.

* Invest $25 million in seismic exploration over the next three years.

National has outlined its approach to the electricity sector today. It includes a realistic acknowledgement of future demand, reforming the Resource Management Act, accepting that gas is important for ensuring security of supply, and streamlining the investment and decision-making processes for investing in new transmission.


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