The disruption to global supply chains caused by Covid-19 has shown how isolated New Zealand can be.
The power blackouts in August 2021 also demonstrated how vulnerable our electricity system is. People deserve to have the lights and heaters kept on, especially on the coldest nights of the year when renewable sources like wind and solar can’t keep up with demand.
New energy sources are being developed and the cost of technologies like wind and solar are falling, but not fast enough to keep up with demand or replace the 21% of New Zealand’s energy that natural gas provides.
New Zealand is blessed with natural gas resources. Even with new exploration banned beyond onshore Taranaki, there is still potential in remaining permits to develop the gas we need to keep the lights on as we transition.
Right now New Zealand is using record amounts of coal to keep the lights on, with over a million tonnes imported last year and 2021 likely to be even higher. This is hardly ideal given that coal has twice the emissions of natural gas.
Serious consideration is also underway for importing Australian natural gas into New Zealand in the form of LNG. We think this is crazy; if we’re going to use natural gas as we transition, let’s use our own resources.
Importing LNG would most likely mean higher energy prices for consumers and higher emissions from shipping it here. It means we’d be funding the Australian economic recovery instead of generating the jobs and royalties here in New Zealand.