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Greenhouse gas from electricity generation lowest in decade

Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister for Climate Change Issues
Hon Hekia Parata
Acting Minister of Energy and Resources

17 August 2011 Media Statement

Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation the lowest in 10 years
Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation are the lowest in a decade thanks to an increase in renewable energy and reduction in coal generation, the Minister for Climate Change Issues, Nick Smith, and the Acting Minister of Energy and Resources, Hekia Parata, announced today.

The Energy Greenhouse Gas Emissions report, released by the Ministry of Economic Development, shows that renewable energy is not only providing New Zealand with a range of energy options but is also having a positive effect on the environment.

“We are already one of the world’s leading countries in renewable energy. Last year 74% of New Zealand's electricity came from renewable sources,’’ says Ms Parata.

“New wind and geothermal generation, along with a strong year for hydro generation, saw greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation decline 11% from 2009 – to the lowest level since 2000.

“Reduced emissions from electricity generation also contributed to an overall decrease in energy sector emissions of 1.4% in 2010.”

The Minister for Climate Issues Dr Nick Smith says a year into the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), emissions in the energy and industrialised sectors are significantly less than projected.

“The most encouraging feature of the ETS for Government is in the way it is successfully changing behaviour and reducing emissions. While 2010 had good rainfall, the higher proportion of renewables was significantly better than in years with similar weather conditions,’’ says Dr Smith.

“In 2010 coal supplied only 4% of our total generation - down from a high of 13% in 2005. Geothermal generation has almost doubled from 7% in 2001 to 13% in 2010, and in the same period, wind generation increased 10 times from 0.36% to 3.73%. Hydro has remained constant at 56%.

“Since the introduction of the ETS, we are now seeing evidence of power companies better managing their resources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Energy Greenhouse Gas Emissions report is an annual report which looks at the energy sector’s greenhouse gas emissions. The data collected is part of New Zealand’s reporting obligations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The publication and detailed data tables are available at


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