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IEA wants more NZ electricity infrastructure investment

Tuesday 29th March 2011

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The International Energy Agency (IEA) wants the Government to set "realistic" goals for energy efficiency improvements, and to increase investment in electricity infrastructure.

In a new review of this country's energy policies, the IEA said the most notable achievement had been the introduction of the emissions trading scheme.

The country's use of renewable energy for electricity was "impressive", around 64% in 2008 rising to 73% in 2009, which was the third-highest share among OECD members, the IEA said.

Launching the review, IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka said that over the long term, New Zealand must continue to enhance its policies in order to ensure a secure, sustainable and decarbonised future.

The IEA urged the Government to move quickly to finalise the New Zealand Energy Strategy, which was published in draft form in mid-2010.

The report also said that the draft New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy lacked a firm commitment to actions that would contribute to achieving energy saving goals.

"The Government needs to assign priorities for working towards goals it can realistically achieve in order to demonstrate early effectiveness and lead to confidence building. The strategy is missing a firm set of actions to achieve its stated goals," the report said.

It said a low-carbon energy system called for significant investment.

Mr Tanaka pointed to progress already made in improving security of the electricity system, but said more investment was needed to build a robust system that met future demand and placed New Zealand on a firm path to a low-carbon energy future.

Acting energy and resources minister Hekia Parata said good progress was being made toward implementing recommendations in the review.

As recommended by the IEA, New Zealand would continue to work on recommendations around energy planning and efficiency, she said.



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