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New Approaches To Energy Management Essential

New Approaches To Energy Management Essential

"New Zealand has a great opportunity to turn the electricity crisis into a sustainable energy development bonanza" John Blakeley, Convenor of the Sustainable Energy Forum, said today.

"Although the expected government announcement of changes to the wholesale electricity market will help ensure a sufficient reserve supply of electricity for dry years, this will only be a "quick fix" solution to an immediate problem. We will be missing a huge opportunity if that is all it does. In the longer term much broader changes to the electricity market are required, and we need to start on these now" said Mr Blakeley.

"We need to return some "public good" drivers and ethics back into the market, converting it to provide for our collective needs, and we need to use more of our sustainable energy resources" said Mr Blakeley.

The Forum has released a discussion paper on this topic, which has been prepared as a background document to submit to the Commerce Committee inquiry into electricity issues. "The deadline for submissions to this inquiry has been deferred from 22 May to 31 July, so the Forum decided to release its discussion paper now" Mr Blakeley said. The paper, which addresses technology, sustainability and market issues, is available on the Forum's web site http://www.sef.org.nz. The required market changes need to be made in consultation with representatives of small-scale and distributed energy suppliers, and small energy consumers, both of which are severely disadvantaged by the present electricity market. Expert advice is needed to support 'sustainable energy options', which will improve the reliability of NZ's supply at all times, not only in dry years.

"The days of New Zealand having sources of cheap energy are over" Mr Blakeley said. "The coincidence of the run down of the Maui gas field and the present dry-year electricity shortage highlight this fact. We must not keep attempting to attract new industries requiring very cheap energy such as aluminium smelting or methanol production." "The energy challenge for New Zealand is multi-faceted. To overcome the risk of future dry-year electricity shortages we need better control of increasing electricity demand, and new renewable energy supplies. But we also need to progressively phase out wasteful uses of electricity, which should only be used for high grade applications, rather than as a source of low grade heat where other renewable energy sources, such as solar and wood, should play an increasing role" Mr Blakeley said. "New Zealand needs to progressively move away from fossil fuels as a source of electricity generation and towards a diverse mix of renewable energy alternatives" Mr Blakeley said.

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