If the electricity sector were art, New Zealand would be “the Mona Lisa.” And countries like Australia, the UK and Germany would rank somewhere behind graffiti. Read more
Contractor - Research Fellow
Matt Burgess is a Research Fellow. He was Senior Economic Advisor to the Minister of Finance, Chief Executive of iPredict, and a Senior Associate at consultants Charles River Associates.
He has a Master of Commerce in economics with first class honours from the University of Canterbury and a Bachelor of Commerce in economics and mathematics.
Switched on! Achieving a green, affordable and reliable energy future (2019)
Phone: +64 4 494 9100
When governments want to reduce emissions, they have a choice between using policy or price. Policy includes rules – for example, 100% of electricity must be generated from renewables – as well as incentive payments, such as electric vehicle subsidies. Alternatively, governments can price carbon using cap-and-trade, or tax carbon directly. The fact that emissions occur in millions of places in the economy strongly affects the relative performance of policy and price. Read more
The coalition government has committed New Zealand to a goal of generating 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2035.Renewables already account for 83% of our electricity, and on current trends will generate up to 97% of our electricity in 2035 without any help from policy changes.However, as Matt Burgess shows in this report, the last 3% through to 100% renewables share will be tremendously expensive, and could raise greenhouse gas emissions.New Zealand’s electricity is secure, affordable and among... Read more
Question: What costs three moon programs, puts nobody in space, and makes no difference to emissions? Answer: Energiewende (or energy turnaround), Angela Merkel’s plan to cut Germany’s emissions. Energiewende aims to make Germany the first industrial economy to fully run on renewable energy. The cost so far: 29,000 wind turbines and 1.6 million solar panels for the bargain price of €500 billion. Yes, half a trillion euro. Read more
As the Interim Climate Change Commission decides how to implement the government’s commitment to 100% renewable electricity generation by 2035, it could learn from the renewables policy disaster unfolding in Germany. Read more
Minister for Climate Change James Shaw this week announced that a package of incentives to buy electrical vehicles will arrive soon. The package will join other climate change measures, including a recent proposal to tighten up New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The principal benefit of an ETS is the discovery of least-cost ways to abate emissions. A 2013 OECD study showed it can cost 17 times more to abate a tonne of carbon by using government subsidies than by... Read more
“Siri, give me directions to the airport.” After a long couple of days of meetings in Auckland it was time to head home. The reply from my smartphone was immediate. “What time do you call this?” Wait, what? “Siri. Give me directions. To the airport.” “Matt, economic growth is one of five important drivers of living standards. Let’s finish that report you’ve been working on.” This new Living Standards Framework upgrade for Siri, based on work by the experts in... Read more