New Zealand's emissions rising

Wednesday, 04 December, 2013

New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has revealed that the country currently ranks sixth worst for emissions increases since 1990 among those who have signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The biggest percentage increase in emissions came from electricity generation, which are up 88.3% since 1990. The CEO of the New Zealand Wind Energy Association, Eric Pyle, said 28% of 2012’s electricity generation came from non-renewable sources, while coal-based emissions were up 463% since 1990 and gas generation was up 21%.

It has been reported that the second Huntly Power Station coal-fired unit will be mothballed by the end of the year and the Taranaki Combined Cycle (TCC) Plant will not run next winter. But Pyle noted, “Even with the Huntly unit and TCC out of action, New Zealand’s electricity base load still has gas-fired generation. We believe much of this could be retired or changed into peaker plant that supports wind.”

He continued, “There is 2500 MW of wind generation consented and waiting to be built and our grid is lauded internationally for its ability to cope with variable renewable generation. New Zealand needs to take steps to catch us up with countries like the USA and Germany, who are building renewable plant even in a flat-demand market.”

New Zealand is currently attracting investment in the oil and gas sector but is lacking a focus on renewables; the country ranks in the top 15 countries for favourable oil and gas policies and it has slipped out of the top 40 for renewables policies. Pyle believes the key lies in investment-grade policy supporting the sector. 

“Some large multinational companies have committed to renewables in New Zealand and more will do so if the policy settings are seen as investment grade,” he said. “There is bipartisan support for the country reaching a target of 90% renewable generation by 2025, but we have no road map that will provide certainty for investors. Greater certainty reduces the cost of capital and will lead to cheaper electricity.

“A stronger renewables base in New Zealand would also enable companies to participate more effectively in the global renewables market, which is worth hundreds of billions of dollars per year.”


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