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Woods reveals weak grasp of NZ energy needs

Megan Woods has again exposed her flimsy grasp of New Zealand’s energy needs, demonising hydrocarbons at a time when many countries are using natural gas to reduce emissions, National’s Energy and Resources spokesperson Jonathan Young says

“All around the world, countries are using natural gas to reduce emissions, yet Dr Woods seems convinced that shouldn’t happen in New Zealand, a country with scope to be self-sufficient in the fuel.

“The Energy Minister says green hydrogen will be the fuel of the future. But recent reports say electricity produced that way would be three times the price of existing electricity. One report says the carbon price would need to increase up to 16 times to make hydrogen cost-competitive to natural gas for electricity generation.

“Dr Woods can’t have it both ways. She wants to keep electricity prices low but also completely decarbonise electricity generation and end all fossil fuel dependence in New Zealand. The reality is we need natural gas as a backup to renewable generation for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

“It is unfortunate to see the Energy Minister attack the industry group Petroleum Exploration and Production NZ (PEPANZ) for attempting to put a bit of balance back into the debate and she distorts the facts in the process.

“Her claim that New Zealand would be left ‘high and dry as the world changes’ if we put ‘all our eggs in the fossil fuel basket’ is completely erroneous. Some 85 per cent of our electricity generation is renewable. Thermal production, largely from gas, gives us a back-up to ensure the lights stay on.

“The International Energy Agency estimates energy demand will increase by 40 per cent over the next 20 years and says natural gas production needs to ramp up to help meet that growth.

“Dr Woods’ views are extremely challenging for New Zealand’s economy for negligible net benefit. She acknowledges this by admitting her officials haven’t provided specific estimates and that the impact on global emissions will depend on the response from New Zealand's large gas users.

“New Zealand needs better leadership on energy issues and carbon reduction than this. We need a prudent, properly assessed pathway to a low-carbon future that works for the planet and for the New Zealand economy.”

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