Sunday, May 19, 2024

Waikato endorses draft energy strategy

Waikato Regional Council says its draft energy inventory is the first step towards a review of its energy strategy for the region.

The Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee has endorsed the draft document, which it says takes a broad approach to the consideration of energy in the region, including addressing renewable electricity generation, storage options and electricity transmission. It also collates information relevant to the demand for energy.

A report to the committee said a lot has changed since the current Waikato Regional Energy Strategy was developed in 2009.

“The prospect of peak oil has changed, with the focus now on decarbonisation to ensure continuing energy supply and also achieve emissions reduction targets,” Council said in a statement.

“That’s where the inventory comes in, recognising the Waikato as a significant contributor to New Zealand’s renewable electricity generation that has the potential to contribute further with increasing interest in developing new energy sources, particularly solar and wind farms, including large offshore wind proposals.”

The Council says there is also potential for the region to transition from the use of fossil fuels for heat and transport to a combination of increased renewable electricity and biomass/biofuels and biogas.

Principal Strategic Advisor, Blair Dickie said the Government is progressing a number of initiatives relevant to energy, including preparation of a national energy strategy and new national direction for the generation and transmission of renewable electricity.

“The inventory serves as an enabler, providing the evidence base for the council and Waikato communities to engage with central government on its national energy strategy and other energy related initiatives.”

“It also raises awareness of the potential role of energy in the region’s transition to a low emissions economy,” said Mr Dickie.

Committee chair, Warren Maher said a priority of the council was to find equitable pathways that help guide industries and communities to reduce the use of fossil fuel and increase energy efficiency.

“It’s a massive undertaking that will be explored and tested further with stakeholders and the community during the review of the region’s energy strategy,” he said.

Delivering an updated regional energy strategy and facilitating an increase in access to and use of renewable energy is a goal in Council’s current strategic direction.

The report on the Draft Waikato Regional Energy Inventory presented at the Strategy and Policy Committee meeting held in April can be viewed at waikatoregion.govt.nz/council-meetings/policy.

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