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NZ could cash in on energy expertise

With populations constantly growing so too is the demand for energy – something New Zealand’s image as a energy-rich country can tap into by using our technology and expertise to help other countries develop their own energy resources for a fee.

So says the Ministry of Economic Development in a briefing to the incoming energy and resources minister, outlining our potential competitive advantages on a global scale.

The government is set to continue to investigate the full resource potential of geothermal energy, a low-emission renewable source that is affordable. Other sources to investigate include marine and tidal energies, solar photovoltaic power generation and remote area power schemes. New Zealand has one of the strongest non-renewable energy sectors in the world. Our use of hydro, wind and geothermal energy makes up 38 percent of our total energy supply.

But it also says New Zealand should start investing in non-renewable resources; there are new technologies available including coal steam gas, underground coal gasification and methane hydrates and investing in carbon capture and storage now could become commercially and environmentally viable.

Many countries are continuing to demand fossil fuel-based energy, which is increasing in price and decreasing in availability. New Zealand would have a competitive advantage in the market if we continue to develop our oil, coal and gas resources to export, the report states. 

The ministry will continue to use the emissions trading scheme as the main economic motivator to clean up our carbon footprint but considers it a waste of time and money to offer additional financial incentives, which it says would only result in higher consumer prices.

And after the Maui pipeline disaster last year, the government will take steps to ensure infrastructure risks are assessed more thoroughly with a focus on fuel supply under a range of potential scenarios.