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Shaping Our Low Emissions Future

July 26, 2019


Back in May, three of us from Energy TS made it down to the 2019 EMANZ Conference.


The event was held at the Harbourside Function Centre in Wellington and in association with the Sustainability Society


Over the course of the two day event (29-30th of May) we listened in on many interesting talks and presentations all centred around this year's theme which was 'Shaping Our Low Emissions Future'. 


At the previous year's conference 'Energising A Low Emissions Economy', most of the discussions were around how New Zealand could transition to a low emissions economy. 


However, a lot has happened since 2018, including: rising public awareness of climate change and its effects, local governments across the country declaring climate emergencies and the introduction of the long awaited Zero Carbon Bill


So this years event focused more on the practicalities to a low emissions economy, how businesses engage with their staff, suppliers and customers to change behaviors, how organisations can develop strategies and plans to reduce emissions and the role EMANZ members will play in making the shift.


EMANZ organised some very relevant speakers for the 2019 conference, including: internationally renowned sustainability expert, Bob Willard, Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton, Environmental Risk Assessment expert from Schneider Electric, James Hunt, and many more. 


It was also MC'd by comedian and long-standing sustainability advocate Te Radar which made for entertaining intermissions between speakers.




The event kicked off with a Ministerial Address from Climate Change Minister, James Shaw where he gave us all an update on the progress the government had made on the last 12 months.


He also discussed some reasoning behind the decisions that were made for the Zero Carbon Bill legislation. Including explaining that the 1.5 C target was chosen so we have some flexibility around the actions required and forces us to act on the science as it evolves.


He also gave an update on the ETS reform, told us about how transport emissions are currently getting worse not better (64 Utes are imported to every 1 EV!) and how we will need to double our electricity generation over the next 30 years as we electrify our economy. We will need to increase our electricity production while not introducing more thermal (emits GHGs) and hydro dams (causes other environmental issues). He also talked about Hydrogen fuel and its role and about the Just Transition Unit.




Next up we had James Hunt from Schneider Electric who discussed the potential for microgrids in New Zealand. He discussed some of the key drivers for microgrids as well as trends and applications using both global and local case studies. He also dived into some of the technical and economic challenges in developing microgrid projects and the bigger questions that we still need to answer.