Energy targets signal a fundamental shift

19 September 2016

New Zealand is on the brink of a fundamental shift in how we produce and use energy as the Government looks to set energy targets to shift the economy, says the BusinessNZ Energy Council (BEC).

"Given the rapid uptake of new technologies, growing uncertainty and the increasing interconnectedness across the sector, it is imperative we get these targets right even if they are aspirational," says Hon David Caygill, Chair of the BEC.

"Planning for the future is never easy. We don’t have a crystal ball and don’t know what technological innovations could evolve to enable the future we want. That’s why the BEC has done a deep-dive into its two 2050 energy scenarios on energy targets, with a second due out early next year on energy sector emissions.

"Our scenarios are not the only commentary on the possible futures we face, but the aim of the deep-dive is to enable a more informed conversation as the Government considers what energy targets to set for: energy productivity (GDP per unit of energy consumed), proportion of primary energy supply that is renewable, and the proportion of electricity consumption that is renewable.

"By using scenarios we can begin to think about the range of actions that New Zealand can take, recognising the global context, as we chart our energy future.

"New Zealand is a world leader in renewable electricity, but how do we achieve the rapid uptake of new technologies, high economic growth and deliver on the environmental goals all New Zealanders aspire to, while keeping the economy resilient for the future?

"We have opportunities to improve in transport and industrial heat, but it is vital that we think about the whole energy system. Our scenarios promote flexibility in our energy pathway by maximising our choices and opportunities for innovation.

"With an economy heavily driven by trade, the cost of our choices impacts our domestic growth and international competitiveness. If we get the targets right today, and back them with robust policy frameworks, we will unlock the investment required to deliver on New Zealand’s future energy needs."

More information on the BEC2050 Scenarios, along with the scenario deep-dives, can be found at www.bec.org.nz/projects/bec2050 and www.bec.org.nz/projects/deep-dive-energy-targets.

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