16 July 2019 -Mercury welcomes the ICCC’s report “Accelerated Electrification” and supports the Government’s response to its findings.
“Renewable electricity is the solution to reducing this country’s greenhouse gas emissions, and this report recognises that,” says Fraser Whineray, Mercury’s Chief Executive.
“The ICCC is an extremely well-constituted panel of experts and we agree with the report’s recommendation to prioritise electrification of transport and process heat over pursuing a target of 100% renewable electricity by 2035.”
The Government’s response suggests that they also agree with this pragmatic approach, especially if pursuit of “the last couple of percent” towards total renewability threatens this country’s enviable reliability and affordability of electricity supply.
Mr Whineray says: “I am particularly pleased that the ICCC and the Government are bearing in mind the cost of electricity to consumers with their aim to ‘move our country towards a zero-carbon future while keeping power prices in check for households’.
“We believe that it would be extremely difficult to maintain this balance while continuing to push towards 100% renewable electricity without significant breakthroughs in technology or a revolution in resource regulation.
The over-build of infrastructure required to cover ‘dry’ hydro years while preserving secure supply would almost inevitably lead to higher costs for consumers, and we welcome the Government’s clarity.”
Mercury also welcomes the long term, visionary thinking that has gone into the report. Investment in high-quality infrastructure and generation with long return horizons (such as Mercury’s recent $256m commitment to the Turitea wind farm) requires confidence in market and regulatory settings.
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