The key initiatives:
- The Government buying half a million solar panels, to take advantages of economies of scale. Some of these would be installed in state houses and government buildings, but the majority would be sold at cost to families (with loan schemes so low-income families could afford them).
- Scrapping the fixed charge for electricity, so you only pay for what you use. This would provide a greater incentive for people to use less electricity.
- Setting up one-stop energy advisory shops around the country to offer advice to people on how to make their homes more energy efficient.
- Changing the Electricity Commission into the Sustainable Energy Commission, so that it has a mandate to look at all fuels, including renewable ones. Part of its mandate would be to test all new large capital projects – such as Transpower pylons – against renewable alternatives.
All major media organisations were in attendance (the Herald even sent three representatives – now, that’s commitment), and some very intelligent questions were asked. Some questions covered the Labour/Green relationship (How closely can you work on energy? Is this a deal-breaker? Could you handle the energy portfolio in a Labour/Green government? Will energy be a big issue in the campaign?), and others dealt with the practicalities of the solar water panel proposal.
Anyway, I’d be interested in your thoughts.