Associate Minister of Energy and Resources Pansy Wong returned yesterday from a very successful APEC Energy Ministers' Meeting in Japan.
"I am very pleased to see that the dialogue among Energy Ministers in the APEC region has moved from a discussion on why we need low carbon energy solutions to how we can work together to make this happen" Mrs Wong said today. "The valuable exchange of views throughout the meeting focussed on the various initiatives already taking place and the technological developments needed to support and expand on these."
"There was a strong focus at the meeting on renewable energy, an area where New Zealand can and is making a valuable contribution. Relevant areas of New Zealand expertise include the successful integration of intermittent sources of renewable energy such as wind power into our national electricity grid. Our experience and expertise in the field of geothermal energy is also significant.
"Delegates acknowledged that while New Zealand is fortunate to have abundant natural resources including lakes, wind and geothermal activity, it is our innovative approach to using them that has enabled New Zealand to achieve 73 per cent renewable electricity generation to date, and will be important for reaching the target of 90 per cent by 2025.
"Energy efficiency standards for appliances are another area of focus for APEC Energy Ministers, as evidenced by a United States proposal for a collaborative assessment of standards and testing for energy efficient appliances." New Zealand has a comprehensive Equipment Energy Efficiency programme with Australia already. It may be possible to use this model as an example to help develop an APEC-wide scheme.
"Ministers also called for the removal of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, a measure that New Zealand supports." The removal of subsidies will make renewable energy more competitive and will also complement the goals of the Emissions Trading Scheme in terms of the price signal it sends.
"I have a very positive feeling about progress being made by APEC Energy Ministers on these important energy challenges" Mrs Wong concluded. "New Zealand will continue to play an active and positive role in meeting these challenges."