Energy efficiency and the environment
In this era of climate change and the desirability of renewables, there is rightly a debate over the role of gas, a fossil fuel, in today’s energy mix. Other countries dependant on coal and other more environmentally harmful fossil fuels are looking at gas to reduce their environmental footprint. New Zealand is in the fortunate position of already having a high level of renewable energy, but will still depend on fossil fuels, particularly gas, for part of its energy needs and to underpin electricity supply security for many years to come.
The Consumer Energy Options report finds that the carbon footprint of gas-fired space and water heating options is much less than standard resistance electric heating options (such as oil column or fan space heaters, or standard electric hot water cylinders) and very similar to high-efficiency electric heat pumps. This is because the power stations used to generate electricity in winter for space heating, and during the morning and evening peak periods for water heating, are predominantly fossil-fuelled. Renewables provide most of the electricity generated at other times.
|Gas is contributing to another priority energy policy focus - warm, dry and energy efficient homes. Specified flued gas heaters are among the types of space heating qualifying under the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme run by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)|