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Policy contradictions at the top
1 May 2000
New Zealand's renewables policy is in a state of confusion as three different ministries send conflicting plans for future energy development. In February the ministry of economic development (MED) called for a decline in renewables production by 30% over the next 30 years, along with significant increases in coal and gas and greenhouse gas emissions. The energy minister attacked the report immediately as being contrary to government policy, particularly in regard to a plan to ratify the Kyoto agreement on greenhouse gas reductions. "But this policy direction message is not getting through to government officials," says Paul van Lieshout of the New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA). The energy minister demanded the MED redo its calculations without the use of coal -- the most dirty fuel. The MED responded with a supplementary report, replacing the coal with gas -- but no wind -- and a subsequent rise in electricity price of 26%. NZWEA argues that using wind over coal would keep prices level, as proven by the commercially viable wind farm built near Palmerston North last year.
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