Government to enable faster roll out of renewable electricity under the RMA

Energy and Resources Environment

The Government will ensure that the national significance of renewable electricity is given more weight in RMA decision-making, says Environment Minister David Parker.

“We need to rapidly expand our renewable energy infrastructure in order to meet our climate change goals,” David Parker said.

“Current national direction for renewable electricity infrastructure was developed before emissions reduction targets were incorporated into law, and can no longer support the required rate of development.

“These steps to address climate change are also steps that protect our natural environment,” he said.

Today, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry for the Environment will issue a consultation document seeking feedback on the proposed changes to strengthen national direction on renewable electricity generation and transmission.

“Several options are outlined in the document. It is expected that, following consultation, amended national policy statements will be in place before the end of the year,” David Parker said.

“The proposals to achieve these objectives focus on strengthening national policy statements to achieve a more efficient, certain and environmentally sustainable consenting process.”

Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods says the proposals include new National Environment Standards that seek to better enable small and community-scale renewable electricity projects, to make upgrades of existing wind and solar more certain,” said Megan Woods.

“These smaller renewable electricity projects, including iwi-run developments, have an important role to play in improving our security of electricity supply and local resilience. These projects can often be disproportionately disadvantaged by consenting processes. We want to cut red tape and help achieve these aspirations,” Megan Woods said.

The RMA change consultation announced today accompanies a significant new funding announcement under the Government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Fund (GIDI) in Auckland today (20 April).

The consultation will run from today until 1 June.