A new energy strategy for the Bay of Plenty aims to increase the wealth and well-being of people living in the Bay and beyond.
The new strategy, launched today by the Bay of Connections Governance Group - the Bay of Plenty's economic strategy group, aims to enhance the value of the region's renewable resources, optimise the region's energy footprint, maximise the economic growth opportunities from renewable energy production and encourage the social benefits of renewable energy production in the region..
Governance Group Chair and Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chair John Cronin said energy is one of the key focus areas of the Bay of Connections Strategy.
"The Strategy is forward looking, innovative, and it is an exciting time for energy opportunities across the region, including Taupō. The Energy Advisory Group has been developing this strategy during 2011. A wide range of people were also involved through the regional forum in June, as well as those who provided written feedback," he said.
He said the region is rich in energy resources, which could lead to new employment, healthy homes and attract more people to the region through innovation and wise investment.
"The region can be a leader in clean, smart and responsible energy, leading ideas and leading innovation. As a region we can show that we are open to renewable energy ideas and not just looking at the obvious and traditional solar, wind and geothermal prospects.
"The strategy will assist us to be first movers and concentrate on the possibilities, some of which we haven't even explored yet."
He said the Strategy and Action Plan involved other key partners essential to its development and implementation, including neighbours Waikato and Taupō. The strategy was about building regional, national, international and business connections.
The new strategy has four major areas - resources, supply, use and growth - which would make critical contributions to the region's improved wealth and well-being. A key item was creating a Bay of Plenty Energy Action Group to provide leadership, drive ownership, own initiatives and put time frames on actions from two to five years.
Goals included having additional energy investments of $3 billion and 13,000 new jobs by 2030, with $4 billion in investments and 24,000 new jobs by 2040. The region was rich in resources, including sunshine and rain, forests, geothermal and people.
The Strategy covers all aspects of energy sourcing, supply and use in the region, including transport, business and residential homes. It is about using energy for current wealth and well-being while conserving and maintaining sustainable energy availability for future generations. It also fits in with the National Energy Strategy.
The Strategy aims to ensure that the Bay of Plenty is the place to invest, and that involves promoting the region's richness in natural resources.
Over the next 15 to 50 years the region could attract more than $4 billion in sustainable energy-related developments, based on the region's abundant sustainable resources, Mr Cronin said.
The Bay of Plenty could generate more than 10 percent of the country's electricity demand, produce more than 10 percent of the country's ethanol and biodiesel and significantly grow energy-intensive processing industries and tourism activities directly using geothermal energy.
A copy of the Energy Strategy is on the Bay of Connections and Bay of Plenty Regional Council websites.