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Parts of energy sector back Climate Change Commission plan

The energy sector has largely shown support for the Climate Change Commission's plan to decarbonise the economy and slash emissions.

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The Climate Commission today released its draft advice to NZ’s leaders, outlining the crucial changes needed to fight climate change before it's too late. Source: 1 NEWS

Draft advice from the independent commission calls for the electrification of the transport fleet and of those industries that rely on fossil fuels.

Commission chairperson Rod Carr said the country would have to increase renewable energy generation by 170 per cent in the next 15 years to meet future demand.

Meridian Energy chief executive Neal Barclay welcomed the commission's advice to take bold and urgent climate action.

The industry as a whole was in good shape to meet the requirements even as future investment would come with a hefty price tag, he said.

"It'll take billions of dollars of investment but we are very fortunate in this country - we've got a large number of sizeable generators with solid balance sheets.

"International capital is just crying out for new renewable project, so there is no shortage of funding available to build the necessary generation we have to build."

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Barclay added that it was now cheaper to operate wind and solar energy projects compared to coal and gas-based generation.

The biggest challenge for the industry currently was the lengthy consenting process for projects, he said.

"Typically, it's been about a 10-year time frame to take a renewable project from an idea and piece of land to [an] actual buildable project.

"I think to hit the sort of targets the commission are calling out as necessary we need to halve that timeframe to go to build."

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It’s one of a raft of new measures announced today to lower New Zealand’s fuel emissions. Source: 1 NEWS

Meanwhile, the country's biggest lines company, Vector, said its sector could be at the leading edge of changing energy usage and distribution to meet climate change goals.

Chief executive Simon Mackenzie said Vector was already involved in solar panels, battery storage, and smart technology to manage demand and supply.

It was not just a case of more renewable energy, but smarter usage, he said.

"Let's get as much of the energy satisfied locally, which gives more resilience to the local networks and the local customers.

"This is about creating smart networks that put customers at the heart of the energy system, moving us away from the centralised, linear model we have today to one that will enable a different sort of energy future."

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