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Meridian launches discussion doc on energy future

Media Release: for immediate release Tuesday October 31 2006

Meridian launches discussion document on energy future

New Zealand could have an energy supply that is the envy of the world if it makes good decisions about which of its many options it chooses, says state-owned power company Meridian Energy.

The company has launched a discussion document, entitled “Choices”, which outlines the various energy options available to the country and the issues associated with each.

Chief Executive Keith Turner says in an environment of increasing demand for energy and growing concerns and urgency over climate change, New Zealand is fortunate in having a wide range of possible energy sources upon which to draw.

“But each of the options has its pros and cons, and it is important that as a nation we understand the implications before we make far-reaching decisions on how we meet our future energy needs.”

In producing the document, Dr Turner says Meridian has drawn on the extensive in-house expertise it has at its disposal, and on external sources.

“With the first draft of the New Zealand Energy Strategy about to be launched, we believe it is important that Meridian brings its considerable expertise to bear in the debate that lies ahead.”

Although Meridian has decided to focus solely on renewable generation sources, the document makes no recommendations as to preferred options.

“As a company Meridian has made its position clear on what its preferences are; and we firmly believe renewable generation will continue to be the option that best serves New Zealand’s short to medium-term needs.”

“But there are limits to the number of ‘prime’ sites for developing wind, hydro or geothermal generation, and the country will also have to give consideration to new technologies such as solar, biomass or tidal – and of course there is a vital role to be played by efficiency and conservation measures.

“The trick will be to get the mix right, so that New Zealand has the energy it needs, at a reasonable price, and with the least impact on the environment, to achieve the economic and social progress we all aspire to.

“New Zealand has some great advantages over many other countries that more than make up for its remoteness and small size.”

Dr Turner says the debate is one that New Zealand has to have now, as decisions need to be made in the very near future about how the country will meet its energy needs of the coming decades.

“If we make the right decisions we could have an energy supply that is the envy of the world, but there will be a very significant cost to us all if we get it wrong,” he says.

“Choices” can be viewed on the Meridian Energy website (www.meridianenergy.co.nz) and hard copies are also available on request.

ENDS

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