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Published: 2009-05-08 00:00:00

An energy strategy that Environment Waikato played a major role in developing is in the running for a national award.

The Waikato Regional Energy Strategy, facilitated by the regional council, has been named a finalist in the public sector category of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (ECCA)’s 2009 awards.

The awards celebrate excellence and innovation in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Currently being finalised and due to be released shortly, the Waikato Regional Energy Strategy is a project the regional council initiated more than two years ago.  It will play a major role in the development of Environment Waikato’s Regional Policy Statement later this year, helping to determine how the region’s energy resources should be managed and used.

“The strategy builds on national energy strategies released by the Government in 2007 and identifies ways to make their recommendations work practically at a local level,” Environment Waikato policy programme manager Blair Dickie said.

“It aims to promote energy efficiency, develop the Waikato’s role in maintaining secure energy supplies, facilitate access to renewable and innovative energy sources and raise awareness of the critical role of energy to the regional and national economy.”

The strategy grew out of the first Waikato Regional Energy Forum, run by Environment Waikato in March 2007.

The forum brought together a range of stakeholders from both the supply and demand sides of the energy sector, including representatives from electricity generators, transmission and distribution networks, community groups, central and local government agencies, research agencies and tertiary institutes. 

This saw the formation of the Waikato Regional Energy Forum Trust, an independent body that has been developing the regional energy strategy and will be progressing energy related projects in the region.

Last October at its third forum meeting, the trust released the draft strategy for review by members containing nearly 30 recommendations for policy makers.  It attracted 19 submissions and it is currently being finalised. 

“The collaborative approach to this project has been one of its most exciting aspects,” Environment Waikato policy programme manager Blair Dickie said.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has contributed the time so willingly and generously to the strategy’s development and congratulate the Waikato Regional Energy Forum Trust on progressing to the finals of the EECA awards.”

The EECA awards will be held in Auckland on May 21.