Lithuanian - Taranaki partnership tackles global energy challenge as part of EU backed programme

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Lithuanian - Taranaki partnership tackles global energy challenge as part of EU backed programme.

A shared goal to reduce emissions was at the heart of discussions during a European Union (EU) visit to New Plymouth from the Lithuanian city of Vilnius this week.

New Plymouth District Council hosted the party of five, here for the first ever delegation to New Zealand under the EU-funded global International Urban and Regional Cooperation programme. 

For more than a year the two districts have held online discussions with an independent academic facilitator on their journeys towards a low emissions future. 

The next step was to continue the knowledge sharing in person, visit the energy scene in Taranaki and explore developing a joint pilot programme. 

“As world leader in climate change action, the European Union is committed to seek sustainable urban development and climate action with Aotearoa New Zealand,” said EU Ambassador HE Nina Obermaier.

“We are delighted to support the partnership between New Plymouth and Vilnius, which will offer new opportunities for learning and sharing ideas on energy transition.”

New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom welcomed the chance to learn more about the innovations being used on the other side of the world and thanked the EU for their support.

“Our regions have similar economies based on agriculture and goals to support efficient economic transitions to a lower carbon future.

“It’s been great to have the Lithuanians here in person to learn more about their energy future, as we collectively face the epic challenge of lowering emissions. We were really honoured Ngāmotu (New Plymouth) was the first city in Aotearoa  the programme has visited and to be able to showcase some of the things we are doing as part of our Taranaki 2050 roadmap to do our bit for NZ Inc and the planet,” says Mayor Holdom.

 “We face the same challenges lowering CO2 emissions including development of renewable energy solutions, energy consumption efficiency, encouragement of energy prosumers, and so far – finding the cleanest possible technology for the use of natural gas and biomass,” says Deputy Mayor Valdas Benkunskas, of Vilnius, Lithuania.

 “As Lithuania, along with the rest of the continent is facing a difficult situation in European energy sector, these issues are becoming more and more important and thus, we are glad to have a source of knowledge and learning here, in New Zealand.”

The three day visit saw the group visit the Kapuni natural gas field, New Zealand’s largest solar energy farm, Hiringa, WITT, Port Taranaki, First Gas, New Plymouth’s city centre, Venture Taranaki, NPDC’s zero waste facility and the energy development centre- Ara Ake.