Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Bridges: Speech to New Zealand Wind Energy Association

Simon Bridges

21 March, 2013

Speech to New Zealand Wind Energy Association

Thank you for the opportunity to address your annual conference. It’s great to be here. Your industry is an exciting one – with its challenges, and opportunities.

To get a sense of this, I am going to start by taking us all back a few years.

In 1993, New Zealand got its first wind power turbine prototype. Over a few short years, the technology moved into the mainstream and its growth is now consistently in double digits.

Not bad in just 20 years.

Today, wind power makes up 4.5% of our power, and growing.

What’s so good about this is wind energy is renewable energy, with the attendant environmental benefits this brings.

This Government has committed to an ambitious target of 90 percent renewable electricity by 2025.

And let’s be very clear – we are committed to this. We are confident about our renewables future.

While there has been a recent slowing in electricity demand impacting some generators’ short-term investment plans – seeing some delays or cancellation of generation projects – renewables will continue to grow as a proportion of our power supply.

None of this means we will only explore renewable energy options. We must take a balanced, pragmatic approach.
But neither does it mean that wind is somehow a soft option. No. It has to stack up financially against other energy sources.

Which is why I am in favour of wind. It does stack up.

Wind has grown to 4.5% of our energy source without subsidies from the Government.

More generally, renewables today are cost-competitive with fossil fuels so, as I have said, I am confident that the majority of electricity generating capacity to be built over the next decade will be renewable.

I believe, as I know all of you do, that a secure supply of energy for New Zealand is fundamental. And what I have learned is this: a secure supply of energy is a diverse supply.

This is another reason to be supportive of wind. At 4.5%, wind power increases our energy diversity, smoothing out the peaks and troughs when, say, hydro power may be low.

As a recent Bloomberg column reinforced to me, energy can be viewed as an ecosystem where a range of energy technologies are desirable. And in ecosystems diversity beats monoculture.

Wind power certainly has a valuable role to play.

The global picture with wind is as impressive as the local one.

Between 2000 and 2010, global installed wind capacity and global electricity generation from wind each grew by an average of 27 percent a year, to where wind energy now accounts for 2.5% of global electricity generation.

While it’s not quite as high as here, it’s reached a point where it is a significant contributor.
And just as wind energy’s renewable nature, cost-competitiveness and ability to bring diversity and thus resilience are factors here, so they are elsewhere.

As the Global Wind Energy Council puts it, “the fundamentals that have driven the industry’s dramatic growth over the past two decades remain and will only get stronger over time.”

None of this is to say, however, that you haven’t faced hurdles as an industry. You have, with the burden of regulation being high on your list.

Perhaps near the top of the regulatory load have been the Resource Management Act and its consenting regime, which I know has caused headaches for some of you.

We are very aware of this and that’s why we’ve implemented a number of improvements in this area since we became Government.

These include introducing the National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation; creating the Environmental Protection Authority; and making 150 amendments to simplify and streamline the RMA.

I hope these initiatives have made your lives easier.

But we appreciate there’s more work to do in this area.

We still hear concerns about costly, cumbersome and time-consuming resource management processes.

That’s why my colleague, Environment Minister Amy Adams, recently announced a work programme for further reforms to the RMA.

As part of her announcement, she cited an example that I think is worth repeating here.

I expect Meridian Energy’s Project Hayes is a case you’re all familiar with.

Regardless of the merits of this project, the consenting process that it went through was unnecessarily costly.

This was a $2 billion wind farm project which, by the time it was eventually refused by the Environment Court after three years, had incurred nearly $9 million in costs for the applicant, and no doubt, an additional many hundreds of thousands of dollars in community and submitter costs.

I understand that much of the cost involved could have been avoided, if it were not for the inconsistent and unclear nature of the local plans.

We anticipate that our proposed reforms will help reduce problems such as this.

Building on the improvements to the resource management system that we’ve already implemented, we’re now keen to tackle more complex challenges.

Some of these are addressed in the 2012 Resource Management Reform Bill currently before Parliament.

We’ve also just released a discussion document containing a comprehensive package of resource management reforms.

I encourage you to participate in this consultation process.

At the same time, if you have other concerns – outside the realm of consenting and the RMA – I encourage you to talk to me, and relevant officials, about these.
As I said in my address to the Downstream forum in Auckland a couple of weeks ago, I see closer engagement between central and local government and business, iwi and communities as a priority.

I hope my attendance here today is a positive step in that direction.

As many of you probably know from first-hand experience, there’s also a lot that can be achieved from wind farm developers initiating meaningful engagement with local communities from early on in the process, and into the operational phase.

Meridian’s Te Uku wind farm is an excellent example of what I’m talking about.

Meridian, Waikato Regional Council and the Waikato District Council collaborated closely throughout the project development phase, and this has continued into the operational phase.

Ngati Mahanga was engaged to develop a nursery and plant 40,000 native plants on-site.

Regular community liaison meetings identified a strong interest, leading to educational wind farm tours, school visits and seminars to educate people of all ages on how renewable energy can contribute to an environmentally-sustainable future.

This is great – and I hope to see even more examples of this type of positive engagement in the future.

In the wind industry’s relatively short time in New Zealand and abroad, it has – you have – achieved a lot. I’ve no doubt the path ahead is even more exciting.
I look forward to working with you as the opportunities unfold.

Thank you – and I wish you the very best for the rest of your conference.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Cunliffe’s Last Stand

Right now, embattled Labour leader David Cunliffe has three options. None of them are particularly attractive for him personally, or for the Labour Party.

In scenario one, Cunliffe could resign immediately and trigger a leadership vote among the caucus, the party membership and unions affiliates. This would be a high risk gambit in that it would pre-empt any review of the Labour election campaign and would be likely to open up new divisions.

While one can safely predict the caucus would vote against Cunliffe, the wider party and union response would be unpredictable, given that Cunliffe (ineptly) ran a centrist neo-Goff/Shearer campaign this year and not the left wing campaign that those who voted him into the leadership were expecting him to pursue. More>>

 

Key Seeking 'New Ideas': Look To Children’s Commissioner On Poverty - Greens

John Key should not reinvent the wheel when it comes to ideas for tackling child poverty, and instead look to the recommendations of the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Group on Child Poverty, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says. More>>

ALSO:

'Safe To Re-Enter' - OIA Docs: Safety Is Absolute Priority At Pike River Mine

“We understand that the time it is taking to complete our evaluation of the risks is frustrating for the family members and we are trying to complete this work as quickly as we can,” Ms Dunphy says. “It is Solid Energy’s responsibility to make this decision and we will do so, once we have all the information required to make a fully-informed decision.” More>>

ALSO:

Images & Report: Mihi To Welcome Newly-Elected MPs To Parliament

The 29 newly elected MPs were welcomed into Parliament with a Mihi. Parliament’s current Speaker David Carter offered advice from his experience working in Parliament advising the MPs to work collaboratively. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Very Bad Year

While Labour leader David Cunliffe still appears to be in denial about the extent of Saturday night’s debacle, there was hardly a single redeeming feature about the election results for the centre-left... More>>

ALSO:

General Election NZ: National Win

Election Night: With almost all votes counted National and John Key have won a third term and are close to being able to govern alone if they so choose. Key has indicated he will still reach out to form a Government with ACT, United Future and Maori Party. More>>

ALSO:

Perfectly-Timed Anniversaries: Suffrage Day Is Last Chance To Enrol

“The last chance to enrol is Friday 19 September. You can’t enrol on election day.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On First Time Voting (Greens)

For the last two days, I’ve turned my column over to a couple of guest columnists who are first time voters… Today’s guest columnist is Ana Avia-O’Connor, who will be casting her first time vote on Saturday for the Greens. More>>

ALSO:

Meddling: Aussie Liberals Embroiled In Key Campaign

John Key needs to explain why Australia’s Liberal Party is interfering in New Zealand domestic politics and is encouraging Kiwi voters across the ditch to vote for National just days out from the election, Labour’s campaign spokesperson Annette King says. More>>

ALSO:

SURVEILLANCE:

Election Ad Soundtrack: Rapper Eminem Sues National Party Over Copyright Breach

US rapper Eminem is suing the New Zealand National Party for alleged copyright infringement over unauthorised use of the rapper’s ‘Lose Yourself’ song in an election campaign advertisement. More>>

ALSO:

Big March: Call For An End To Domestic Violence

Hundreds of protesters marched down Lambton Quay to Parliament Monday calling for an end to domestic violence. Wearing white facemasks, waving banners and calling for “safety” for the women and children of New Zealand.. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news