by Daniel J. Graeber
Paris (UPI) Dec 8, 2015
New Zealand's government joined a global geothermal energy group, saying the move was emblematic of a shift toward a low-carbon economy.
New Zealand Energy Minister Simon Bridges announced from the sidelines of the U.N. climate conference in Paris his government joined the Global Geothermal Alliance.
"As the world transitions towards a lower carbon future, the increased demand for renewable energy, coupled with the ongoing interest in energy security, has focused attention on geothermal energy," he said in a statement. "Worldwide installed capacity is forecast to double this decade."
Bridges arrived in Paris last week, bringing with him a message of how energy diversity can help advanced economies switch to a low-carbon model. Oil is the fourth-largest export for New Zealand, bringing in around $700 million each year in royalties and taxes, though renewable energy made up nearly 80 percent of the country's electricity generation last year.
New Zealand has the fourth largest geothermal power capacity in the world, behind the United States, the Philippines and Indonesia, respectively.
"Joining the [geothermal] alliance will position New Zealand firms to benefit from geothermal projects and partnerships around the world," Bridges said.
The share of electricity generated from renewable resources in New Zealand last year was 79.9 percent, a 5 percent increase from the previous year. The government attributed the rise to the growth in geothermal generation.
Bridges said the global renewable energy sector is expected to draw $7 trillion in private sector investments by 2030. In the past six years, investments in New Zealand have totaled $1.5 billion.
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