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Time to build a renewable energy revolution

New Zealand has the potential to meet its energy needs from wind power, but is so far failing to meet this opportunity, Greenpeace stated today at the New Zealand Wind Energy Association conference in Wellington.

At the conference, Greenpeace presented ‘Wind Force 10’ (1), a global Greenpeace report which demonstrates how 10% of the world’s electricity can be met by 2020 with the right political and industrial commitments.

“The wind industry was the fastest growing energy technology of the 1990s, and the global market for wind power is forecast to expand tremendously, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. Yet we are already missing the boat in New Zealand, and we will need vision, direction and leadership if we are to exploit this technology for both domestic and export purposes. Economically and environmentally, it makes sense to build a renewable energy future” said Tricia Allen, Campaign Director for Greenpeace in New Zealand.

At present, 77% of NZ’s electricity is generated by non-fossil fuel sources, but this figure is set to decrease, not increase. “Our electricity supply is going from green to brown. This is hardly the right direction for a country which is trying to improve its reputation internationally on environmental issues, having been shamed into receiving the international ‘fossil of the day’ award only last year at recent climate negotiations” said Tricia Allen.

The Government has recently stated its commitment to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which will require NZ to bring CO2 emissions down to 1990 levels this decade. But already, our domestic CO2 emissions have risen over 30% since 1990.

“Preventing dangerous climate change will require a commitment to phase out fossil fuels, instead exploiting the opportunities presented by renewable energy technologies, including wind power, and bringing renewable solutions out of the fringes and into the mainstream” said Tricia Allen.

ENDS

(1) Wind Force 10 was co-produced by Greenpeace International, the European Wind Energy Association, and the Forum for Energy and Development. Copies are available from Greenpeace on 09 630 6317.

For further information, contact Tricia Allen on 025 790 817.

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