Energy Users and Climate Change
Manufacturers are often high energy users but we all need energy for our personal comfort, transport needs and utility services such as water supply and drainage. During the past decade world energy prices have more than doubled and this is particularly relevant for manufacturers as the viability of businesses and the New Zealand economy all depend on the cost of energy.
Some traditional energy sources have in recent years been linked to climate change and there is a demand for clean energy so as to slow or reverse the damaging effects of world-wide temperature change. Numerous manufacturers and individuals embrace the need for new energy sources but changes carry the risk that businesses may not continue to be viable. In that event many could be forced out of business, export earnings could fall and unemployment could rise significantly.
For many the transition to clean energy is an emotive issue which ignores the damaging effects of too rapid a transition to any new energy source. It is a commonly held view that wind power, wave power and solar power can already provide all our future energy needs. However experience has already shown that these are peak energy sources not available continuously and other means are require for base load power.
New Zealand Economy
Energy is the engine which will drive the economic future of New New Zealand. Only a sensible transition to any new energy source will allow the New Zealand economy to continue to provide the health and social service benefits which are currently enjoyed by New Zealand people.
EDI members recognise that there are several new energy sources which may be available in the future. Hydrocarbon gas appears to be a potentially favourable source but only if it can be found in sufficient amounts to be significant. It might be used as a transitional source of energy or longer term but very much depending on it availability which has yet to be proven especially in the South Island.
It should be noted that several other countries, notably America, have already recognised that hydrocarbon gas has about half the damaging effect on the atmosphere and world climate, compared with some traditional energy sources like coal.
If New Zealand can demonstrate the availability of sufficient gas reserves to serve a large part of the National needs we should be considering it as a major future energy source at least as a transitional solution.