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Welcoming the widening of renewable energy targets

Bioenergy Association welcomes widening of Government’s renewable energy targets

The Bioenergy Association today welcomed the announcement by Minister Bridges that he will be widening the Government’s energy targets from just electricity to include heat and transport energy which together provide 75% of our consumer energy demand.

“The Government’s previous focus on electricity which meets only 25% of energy demand and is already 80% from renewable energy sources has resulted in lost opportunities with regard to climate change, employment and regional economic development. Targets on heat and transport will encourage use of our natural resources and greatly decrease the use of fossil fuels.”

Mr Grant Smith, the Chair of the Bioenergy Association said “In particular the Bioenergy Association agrees that adoption of widened renewable energy targets would encourage business to investigate the opportunities from our biomass and waste resources. Growth in the use of clean technologies would also improve air quality in cities and reduce valuable agricultural and process residues going to landfill.”

The sector’s Bioenergy Strategy envisages that 25% of all consumer energy could come from biomass and organic waste by 2040. This includes 30% of transport fuel coming from biofuels. Bioenergy is often based on well proven technology and so doesn’t require a lot of research, but what it needs is facilitation so as to speed up growth of the market. The widened targets from Government will provide some of the necessary stimulus.

“It is good to see that the Government is looking to set targets which are achievable and with the right leadership and facilitation can transition New Zealand to a lower carbon economy. Sector targets for heat will also encourage central and government agencies such as schools, Councils and hospitals to consider using renewable energy instead of coal and gas. BANZ believes this policy will assist regional economic development, create additional employment and provide opportunities for export of skills to other regions. The low carbon and other benefits will come for free if we get the business opportunities right.”

Mr Smith said that “The targets should be specific for different sectors according to the opportunities available to them. For example, New Zealand’s cities produce significant quantities of resource that would otherwise go to waste, yet there are real opportunities to turn this into valuable low carbon products”

ENDS

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