INDEPENDENT NEWS

Kyoto Ratification a Dramatic Breakthrough

Published: Tue 10 Dec 2002 04:41 PM
Kyoto Ratification a Dramatic Breakthrough
New Zealand¹s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol has been welcomed as a "dramatic breakthrough" by the NZ Photovoltaic Association (NZPVA). At its end-year meeting, the NZPVA Board unanimously commended the Government for showing the sort of leadership that can pick where New Zealand needs to be heading in the 21st Century.
"Instead of simply holding talkfests about innovation, the Prime Minister has zeroed in on the huge opportunity which Kyoto opened up for new energy technologies. Throughout the Asia/Pacific region there is a vast demand for relatively small power systems which use no fossil fuel. Our members have the technology and the skills to grasp that opportunity," said the Acting NZPVA Chair, Ken Piddington in Wellington today.
"Because the electricity from photovoltaic (PV) cells comes from the sun, it is more economic that diesel plants in the small islands throughout the Pacific. The installations are easily put in place and require very little maintenance. So it is also very suitable for remote continental locations. We are getting enquiries from Mongolia to Turkmenistan. And these people have done their homework. They understand how the mechanisms agreed to at Kyoto will assist in the funding of the technology transfer.
"In fact, there are also many opportunities throughout New Zealand, since PV supply can strengthen the grid in remote areas. As we develop the capacity to improve electricity supplies for rural communities, we can also aim for a slice of a global market which is about to surge. Already, PV growth worldwide is pushing 40% per annum and the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol will definitely give it another boost.
"For too long this opportunity has been obscured by the barrage of criticism concerning Kyoto. But in fact the growth is so dramatic that the Kyoto breakthrough will change our view of the world. Very soon, we shall start to see solar electricity and other renewable technologies as a necessity for the world¹s poor. We will also see where it fits into our own energy scenarios for this century. Within a few decades, built-in PV will be the sensible investment for all new buildings, from woolsheds to Auckland high-rise. Marae communities and schools will be doing retrofits, selling power back to the networks when they don¹t need it. All of this will make us aware of the social and economic benefits from the many thousands of jobs that can be created throughout New Zealand.
"Let the critics pause long enough to learn something about the potential unleashed by the Kyoto Protocol. Let them also see it as an opportunity for co-operative action at home and abroad."

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