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Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Whether you are a petrol head or a mum and dad happy motorist you will be living with less oil in the future. That's the sober conclusion of the New Zealand government's most trusted energy adviser -- the International Energy agency (IEA) in its latest annual report.
The graph below (click to enlarge) shows that starting now, and year after year, there will be less and less oil used per capita for transport in OECD nations -- including New Zealand (refer to the Pacific OECD section)
And, in what has been described as a cry for help, the IEA calls on governments including New Zealand's to take concerted government action.
"The World Energy Outlook to 2035 hinges critically on government policy action and how that action affects technology, the price of energy services, and end-user behaviour" , and
"The future of renewables hinges critically on strong government support"
Here again our government is failing to heed the advice from its most trusted energy adviser. Its "plan" is not to provide "strong government support". Instead our draft Energy Strategy proposes to address New Zealand’s vulnerability to oil price rises and scarcity with a ‘wait and see’ approach ...
page 13 “The Government will not pick winners: ultimately uptake of new energy sources and technologies will depend on the decisions made by consumers as they respond to oil prices.”
As the WWF analysis of the Energy Strategy says -
"The government is effectively saying that it plan is to do little or nothing, and instead let the ‘market’ and consumers determine how New Zealand will address the challenge of increasing oil prices."
So, what is the Government actually doing ? There appear to be just 2 policy initiatives, of which they seem very proud - as they are always quoted in ministerial letters responding to peak oil related correspondence :-
1. Biodiesel Grants Scheme
"In the first eleven months of operation (July 2009 – May 2010), an average of 44,620 litres of biodiesel were covered by the scheme. Biodiesel covered by the scheme would comprise 0.008% of total NZ oil consumption." (WWF Analysis)
2. Road User Charges Exemption for Light Electric Vehicles
"In June 2009, the government announced that electric vehicles would be exempt from road user charges from October 2009.
There were only 23 vehicles that qualified for the exemption in 2009. But the government has stated the scheme will expire at the end of 2012 by which time the impact statement predicts 127 electric vehicles in New Zealand with combined annual revenue foregone in road user charges of $60,466. The total cost of the scheme (revenue foregone) over its four year duration is projected to be less than $105,000.
$105,000 is less than 0.002% of the government’s planned spending on roads. $60,466 is less than the Wellington accommodation allowances for 3 government ministers in the first 6 months of 2009." (WWF Analysis)
Is this the "critical government policy" action the IEA is calling for? You be the judge.
Posted by Denis Tegg at Tuesday, November 16, 2010