Legislation passes to enable sustainable biofuels

  • David Parker

Energy Minister David Parker today welcomed the passing in Parliament of the Biofuel Bill, which he said would stimulate the market for sustainable alternative transport fuels.

“I’d like to thank the Progressive Party, Greens, New Zealand First, the Maori Party, United Future and Taito Phillip Field for supporting this legislation,” David Parker said.

“This broadly supported step is important in moving New Zealand away from a dependence on imported fossil fuels, and towards renewable alternatives with lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“I know several businesses with plans to invest in this new industry in New Zealand and create new jobs, who will breathe a sigh of relief to hear this bill has passed.

“This legislation allows for an increasing proportion of New Zealand’s transport fuel to be produced locally, from by-products of the dairy or beef industry, and in the future from wood and grasses grown on marginal land, or from algae from sewage ponds.

“The introduction of biofuels is a forward-looking move which will start to free New Zealand from the tyranny of the international oil market, and may even reduce the cost of fuel to consumers. Gull Petroleum is already selling biofuels at less than the cost of a similar non-biofuel product.”

The legislation introduces a biofuels sales obligation which means that biofuels will have to make up 0.5 percent of oil companies’ sales this year, with obligation levels rising by 0.5 percent increments to 2.5 percent in 2012.

The bill contains sustainability principles which will make sure biofuels sold towards the obligation will:
• Emit significantly less greenhouse gas over their life cycle than fossil fuels
• Avoid negative impacts on food production
• Do not reduce indigenous biodiversity or adversely affect land with high conservation values.

“I would particularly like to thank the Green Party for their assistance in formulating these sustainability principles,” David Parker said.

The requirements necessary to achieve these principles will be specified through an Order in Council, which the Minister of Energy must recommend as soon as possible.