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Energy strategy points to sustainable pathway

Energy strategy points to sustainable pathway

11 December 2006

Energy and Climate Change Minister David Parker today released the Government's draft energy strategy, which proposes that as much new electricity generation as possible should be renewable.

Mr Parker said the energy strategy aims to ensure New Zealand develops a sustainable and affordable energy system which minimises greenhouse gas emissions, and which will give New Zealand an enduring competitive advantage over other countries.

"There is a lot the government is already doing to encourage renewable generation, lower emissions, and improve energy efficiency, but the strategy and other studies make it clear that more needs to be done.

"We are now developing a series of long-term programmes which will make a significant difference to energy security and greenhouse gas emissions. Central to this is the New Zealand Energy Strategy and the aim that new electricity generation should be renewable, except to the extent necessary to maintain security of supply."

Other key elements of the strategy include:

* Introducing renewable fuels as substitutes for petrol and diesel
* Improving efficiency of the vehicle fleet, through age/technology standards
* Improving consumer choice through vehicle efficiency information standards
* Biofuels increasing over time and the introduction of plug-in electric vehicles
* Increasing support for public transport and non-motorised forms of transport
* Developing a New Zealand shipping strategy and other different ways to move freight
* More solar water heating
* More energy efficient homes and buildings
* Funding for the early deployment of marine-based electricity generation such as wave or tidal, worth $8 million over four years
* Increasing competition in the electricity market by reducing restrictions on generation and retailing by lines companies
* Creating a pathway for internalisation of fossil fuel emissions in the electricity sector so costs are met by those who create them
* Consideration of RMA consent applications for wind and geothermal electricity generation projects in groups, to better compare national benefits and environmental impacts.

"Promoting renewable energy is central to New Zealand's future. The New Zealand Energy Outlook to 2030 predicts oil use to increase by 35 per cent and energy-related greenhouse gas emissions to rise 30 per cent, if we do not change the way we produce and use energy.

"New Zealand is in the fortunate position of being able to produce large amounts of low-emissions electricity from renewable resources, such as hydro and wind, which are plentiful and cheap by world standards.

"These proposals could make a significant difference to New Zealand's energy security and level of emissions, and put us on a path to carbon neutrality. They are crucial to transforming our economy, and to New Zealand's identity as a clean, green nation."

Complementing the draft New Zealand Energy Strategy are two additional discussion papers. One is on the longer-term options for addressing greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the economy beyond 2012, and the other proposes transitional measures to encourage renewable energy and/or limit greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity and industrial energy sector as part of moving to the longer-term policy.

"To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, New Zealand is likely to need a combination of voluntary, price-based and regulatory measures, some targeted towards individual sectors of the economy and some for the economy as a whole," Mr Parker said.

"Strong input and buy-in from all sectors is required to finalise and then implement this strategy, and I welcome rigorous debate on this important issue."

The closing date for submissions on the draft strategy is 30 March 2007.

The Minister begins the process for consultation on the draft strategy with a series of briefings to stakeholders this week.

ENDS

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