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Energy Report Underlines Electricity Dilemma

Media Release
20 August 2004

Energy Report Underlines Electricity Dilemma

Systems-Level Review is Vital to NZ’s Economic Future

A national research group and think-tank says the Government can not ignore the findings of a report which identifies a major deterioration in New Zealand’s electricity supply security.

The Canterbury-based Centre for Advanced Engineering (CAE) says the report by energy consultant Bryan Leyland is a highly credible analysis that illustrates the rate at which New Zealand’s electricity gap – the different between supply and demand - is worsening.

CAE’s executive director, Dr George Hooper, says the findings demonstrate the importance of immediate systems-level review of the way New Zealand will meet its future electricity needs.

The report says electricity demand is already 6 per cent higher than Government estimates and growing faster than expected. It says New Zealand needs to add 320MW of supply each year – much more than the 130-150MW estimated by the Ministry of Economic Development.

“The report leaves absolutely no doubt that this is a time for action and a time for co-ordinated responses in the energy sector,” says Dr Hooper. “New Zealand’s economic future is on the line. We either modernise and optimise our national energy systems now, or suffer the effects of ongoing shortages and much higher pricing.

“The Electricity Commission has been given an enormous responsibility and is doing much to meet the issues raised in Bryan Leyland’s report. It’s up to governments and energy sector leaders to put aside their short term interests and support the EC’s work in any way they can.

“CAE advocates a systems-level review that will allow the use of alternative energy strategies including systems-optimisation, conservation and efficiency, demand-side management and – in particular – Distributed Generation.” CAE is making the full Leyland report available to the public on its website www.caenz.com.

About Distributed Generation

DG can be defined as smaller-scale generation which is not connected to the national grid. Examples of DG in New Zealand include the co-generation plant at the Kinleith pull mill and the new power plant at Auckland Hospital. These supplementary supplies may be for a specific user, such as a manufacturer, or they could contribute to local demand. A major advantage of DG is that it can avoid the need for big investments in the distribution network, such as the proposed upgrade of New Zealand’s ageing transmission lines. It also allows for a diversification in the use of primary fuels (coal, gas, diesel, oil etc), which in turn allows major users to manage their energy supplies and costs by “fuel-switching.”

About CAE

The Centre for Advanced Engineering (CAE) is a Christchurch-based charitable trust and independent think-tank. Its mission is to advance social progress and economic growth for New Zealand through emerging technologies and advanced technology solutions. www.caenz.com

Ends

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