Promoting clean, renewable energy

Page - March 15, 2010
Less pollution, less climate change and more long term security - who could say no? Clean, renewable energy is just that - stable and secure and it doesn't run out.

A Greenpeace activist hangs on the side of the 'Almar' which was bringing a shipment of coal into the Port of Tauranga.

Fossil fuels must be phased out to protect the planet from climate change, and the sooner, the better.

It's time for New Zealand to invest in clean, safe energy sources. The Labour-led government has recognized this with its renewable energy target of 90 per cent by 2025. This policy is a great endorsement of Greenpeace's Energy Revolution report  which concluded that in fact a 100 per cent renewable target is doable in New Zealand.

The government has also said no to any new fossil fuel generation for the next 10 years.

Unlike fossil fuel-based energy, renewable energy is reliable, limitless power generated by natural forces and processes such as sunshine, wind, flowing water (hydro), organic materials (biomass) and geothermal heat.

And in the future there will also be ocean energy, such as tidal or wave power.

Greenpeace wants clean, renewable energy for New Zealand:

  • Greenpeace wants cleaner energy options for all New Zealanders, so we're all being powered from renewable sources and not contributing to climate change, that's why we've developed the Clean Energy Guide for you.
  • With so much high country and coastline New Zealand has the potential to harness more wind energy than almost any other country in the world. We're saying Yes 2 Wind

And internationally we're creating solutions too:

What are the benefits?

The technology already exists

Many renewable energy technologies are mature and proven. Wind turbines have been used in some forms for hundreds of years and is now the fastest growing energy sector in the world. Renewable energy is already being used with great success in New Zealand and overseas.

Germany and Spain have adopted supportive policies to establish their renewable energy industries. They now lead the world in the field, as detailed in the Wind Force 12 report. In Israel, development controls mean that 85% of residences now have solar hot water.

What does it cost?

Renewable energy doesn't cost a fortune. Technological improvements and increased production have reduced costs. Nowadays, in many regions, the cost of electricity produced from renewable sources matches or beats the cost of generating power from fossil fuels.

Does it have any impacts?

As with any development, the environmental impacts of renewable energy sources must be examined. There's no point solving one problem and creating others.

Large scale hydroelectric dams have flooded precious ecosystems. Certain forms of proposed biomass energy sources, such as burning municipal waste or native forest logging products, lead to major environmental problems that outweigh their potential climate benefits.

Of course, the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow. But a renewable energy system that uses hydro, wind, solar, geothermal and biomass will provide more than enough reliable and safe energy.