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Published: 2008-05-21 00:00:00

Environment Waikato’s policy to ensure sustainable use of geothermal resources has won a prestigious international energy award.

The regional council’s entry has won the national prize in the Energy Globe Awards, said to be the most prominent and prestigious international environmental prize.

The award is for projects that conserve energy resources and use renewable or emission free energy forms. The council entry was one of 853 individual projects submitted from 109 nations. Environment Waikato won the award for the best New Zealand entry over five other national entries.

Environment Waikato’s Policy Programme Manager Blair Dickie will be presented with the winner’s certificate at a ceremony at the European Parliament in Brussels later this month.

“Geothermal power stations in the Waikato produce approximately seven percent of the nation’s electricity,” Mr Dickie said. “It is important to use these natural resources in an efficient and sustainable way so that they can still meet the foreseeable needs of future generations.”

The review of the policy and plan for geothermal management started in 2003 and was finalised in the Environment Court in 2007.

"We were always secure in the knowledge that we were doing something that was absolutely essential for the region. Our policy included many innovations that protected the values of some systems and enhanced access to the energy from others providing for sustainable production, cultural values, protection of biodiversity and tourism,” Mr Dickie said.

"The team that worked on this policy was small and extremely focused on getting the right outcome for the region. It was a long process that requiredcommitment from elected representatives and staff with the final outcome benefiting from the quality of inputs from a wide range of stakeholders participating in the process. I’m glad to see their dedication recognised in such a big way."

For the eight years that the awards have been running some 6000 projects have been submitted for an Energy Globe Award.

Mr Dickie said, “It is great to see the effort people are making around the world to ensure that global resources are conserved and utilised sustainably, I think every entrant should be very proud of their contribution.”