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Regional energy strategy

The Waikato, New Zealand’s leading electricity generation region, launched the country’s first regional energy strategy in Wellington on 19 August 2009. The Waikato Regional Energy Strategy provides a comprehensive picture of the way energy is used within the region and the opportunities we have as a community to use energy more efficiently and get more of our energy from renewable sources.

Initiated by Waikato Regional Council and developed with community and business input, the strategy was developed to get agreement from the regional community on how to ensure Waikato people continue to have access to reliable energy supplies at affordable prices. This is crucial if we want to maintain the high standard of living we currently enjoy. Energy issues have become top of mind for people in recent years, with rising petrol and electricity costs hitting households hard. At the same time, the need to cut carbon emissions to address climate change issues has become increasingly urgent.

In 2007, the Government released two key policy documents designed to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources – the New Zealand Energy Strategy and the New Zealand Energy and Conservation Strategy. One of the Government’s targets was to produce 90 per cent of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

In response, Waikato Regional Council organised the first Waikato Regional Energy Forum in March 2007, and proposed the development of the Waikato Regional Energy Strategy. Waikato Regional Council saw a need to localise national policy and adapt it to fit the unique characteristics of our region. Energy is so fundamental to our economy and our modern lives, the council realised no one level of government or sector of society could address the full scope of the issues.

We invited a range of regional stakeholders to the forum, including representatives from the energy sector, local government, central government, transmission and network companies, major energy users, educational institutes and community groups. With our support, the Waikato Regional Energy Forum Trust was set up as an independent body to develop the energy strategy and progress energy related projects in the region.

The strategy encourages energy conservation and efficiency and will facilitate the development and use of renewable energy sources and innovative energy technologies. Waikato Regional Council was delighted to see the trust’s work recognised in May 2009 with a commended award in the public sector category of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority awards.

The strategy is a non-statutory document. Eleven of the 27 recommendations in the Waikato Regional Energy Strategy will inform a review of Waikato Regional Council'c Regional Policy Statement, a document that sets the direction for the management of the region’s natural and physical resources. Waikato Regional Council's policy team will be looking at both the supply and demand sides of the equation, realising that Resource Management Act and Local Government Act tools can also assist individuals and communities to live low-energy, low-emission lifestyles.

Download the strategy document below:

Regional energy strategy
(5059 kb, 722 seconds to download, 56k modem)

A selection of photos from the 19 August 2009 launch can be viewed below

(click thumbnail to see a larger version of the picture) 

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