Each week NZ Energy & Environment Business Alert provides you with in-depth news, analysis and opinion on NZ’s energy and environmental sectors.
Once a week, read authoritative news and analysis on everything from water allocation policy to renewable energy production, from deep-sea oil and gas prospecting to the emissions trading scheme and new green technologies.
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NZ Energy & Environment Business Alert concentrates on the news that matters
TOP 10 ISSUES For Energy and Environment In 2013
New Zealand faces huge choices and opportunities in its energy, environmental management, agricultural and resources sectors, which will have a major impact on your business during the next few years.
Climate Change – Depending on your viewpoint, NZ has irresponsibly abandoned the climate change fight by leaving the Kyoto Protocol process, or has wisely judged the Kyoto process is going nowhere and that a new global consensus will need to emerge. Policy changes have also made life tough for those who expected a NZ carbon market to develop. With carbon prices at all-time lows, is there any prospect of a behaviour-changing carbon price any time soon?
Water – Abundant water remains one of NZ’s greatest blessings, but new rules for its allocation are long overdue and in more and more catchments, dairying, town water supply and other uses are exhausting available supplies, while new users are locked out. Now, at last, the government is moving ahead with a long term plan for freshwater policy, based on collaborative processes.We’ll be following the developments, which few are covering in detail.
Oil & Gas Exploration – NZ remains highly prospective and underexplored, especially offshore, and there is a new wave of exploration activity planned both onshore and offshore . But efforts to attract new investors to NZ have had only mixed success. On land, opposition is building to unconventional oil and gas exploration, such as “fracking.” The politics are fraught, with 2014 shaping up in part as a referendum on energy and minerals extraction as a policy priority.
Mining and Minerals – The riches in the depths of the 200 kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone are becoming commercially attractive and accessible. At the same time, environmentalists worry about the impact of mineral exploitation in our dangerous, deep ocean. We expect at least two major new offshore projects, seeking phosphate and ironsands, to be testing the new EEZ regulations in 2013 and 2014. A big challenge lies ahead for the newly constituted Environmental Protection Authority in this area.
The Future Of Coal – Plans to mine low-grade lignite and convert it to bio-fuels and fertiliser have foundered, along with Solid Energy. But high-grade coking coal is still in demand for steel-making, and should continue to rise in value as global economic activity picks up. In NZ, new coking coal mining plans have faced stiff opposition. Will would-be coalminers be able to get the consents they need to invest? Will their shareholders remain patient?
Electricity Generation - The Government’s electricity reforms have boosted retail competition, as has the fact electricity demand has barely moved in the last five years, creating pressure on prices and spurring reassessment of the need for high cost thermal plant. It’s clear coal and gas-fired generation faces a reduced role in the short to medium term. How will the gas market react? Who will move first to close thermal plant?
Renewable Energy – The government’s goal is 90% electricity generation from renewable sources, with wind and geothermal energy making up the largest increments of recently commissioned new generation.
However, there appears little likelihood of major new generation projects in the short term. At the same time, however, solar photovoltaic technology costs are plummeting, making it an increasingly realistic option for small-scale and household electricity generation at competitive rates.
RMA Reform – Phase one was “the easy part”. The Govt’s “part two” reforms have now been unveiled and will be a hot topic throughout 2013 and into the future as the courts will face novel challenges following rewording of fundamental elements of NZ’s environmental legal framework. The ultimate test of the reforms is whether they improve NZ’s economic performance while staying true to the principles of “sustainable development.” Critics are watching closely, and so will we.
Energy Efficiency – Energy efficiency is becoming increasingly essential for businesses, and the nationwide roll-out of smart meters holds the prospect of major changes in both retail electricity offerings and the capacity for consumers to manage their energy use. Find out about new technologies to cut your energy bills and discover what other organisations are doing to slash consumption and improve efficiency.
Bio-Fuels – The shale oil and gas boom in the US and elsewhere has fundamentally changed the outlook for bio-fuels, although there are some big plans for industrial-scale production in NZ, based on projected volumes of harvested wood. NZ-based Lanzatech is at the forefront of efforts to find new technologies to produce lower carbon fuels. We will keep tabs on these developments.
Science & Innovation – Finding solutions to our future energy and environmental issues will depend on products, services and industries that may not even exist yet. The newly constituted Callaghan Innovation and initiatives to research agricultural greenhouse gas emission reductions are important both to NZ’s growth rates and its defence of its environmentally clean image. Will the new govt agency live up to its promise?
Privatisation – The Govt’s partial asset sales programme has been a political muddle, but the MightyRiverPower float has occurred and attention will now go to which SOE is next. This will depend on a complex mix of factors, including readiness for sale, the outlook for primary energy prices, and the politics of asset sales within 12 months of a general election expected in November 2014.
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If your organisation is involved in, or affected by energy efficiency, renewable energy, water, waste, sanitation, land management, climate change or air quality, you are playing a part in shaping New Zealand’s investment in the future.
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Government departments, local authorities, regional councils, shareholders, accountants, investors, bankers, insurers, legal advisors, exporters and manufacturers are all affected by a broad based market shift towards sustainability.
NZ Energy & Environment Business Alert is written and edited in a clear, concise style and focuses specifically on the situations confronting you every day. Advertising is not accepted. Editors have no allegiance to any political party or other outside lobby groups. Their duty is solely to you, the client.
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