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Brownlee: Jump In Renewable Electricity

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Gerry Brownlee
Gerry Brownlee

19 March 2009 - New geothermal plants, increased levels of wind generation, and a return to normal hydro lake levels has seen a big jump in renewable electricity generation. Energy and Resources Minister, Gerry Brownlee, today released the Ministry of Economic Development's New Zealand Energy Quarterly (NZEQ) for the December quarter 2008.

NZEQ presents statistics on the supply of major fuels, electricity generation and greenhouse gas emissions, and fuel prices to the end of December 2008.

The quarter saw 74 percent of electricity being supplied from renewable sources compared with the winter power crisis in the June quarter when renewable generation was down to 56 percent.

"This is a very positive level in renewable electricity generation after a very dry autumn and winter last year, although it still doesn't mean we can rule out thermal generation being an insurance card in dry years," said Mr Brownlee.

"However it was pleasing to see the opening of the Kawerau geothermal power station last year making geothermal sources a bigger contributor to renewable generation," he said.

"The figures also show a sizable drop in greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation for the quarter, reflecting the reduced use of gas and coal generation as the hydro lakes recovered," said Mr Brownlee.

Key facts: 74% of electricity supplied from renewable sources, the highest quarterly level of renewable sources in five years. Geothermal electricity generation contributed 11% of generation in the December quarter 2008. Electricity generation from wind set a new quarterly record of 304 gigawatt hours, providing 3% of electricity generation. Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation were 14% down from previous December quarter, the lowest quarterly emissions since the March quarter 2005.

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