Major step towards greener energy by 2025

  • David Parker

Providing for the country’s energy needs now and into the future while reducing New Zealand’s impact on the environment is the goal of the government’s proposed National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation announced today.

Environment Minister Trevor Mallard and Energy Minister David Parker said today’s announcement was aimed at helping achieve the Labour-led government’s goal of generating 90 per cent of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

“How we provide for our energy needs into the future is a key climate change issue,” David Parker said.

“We must move away from the technologies of the past to the technologies of the future if we are to reduce our impact on the environment.  Those technologies are likely to include wind, geothermal, solar, tidal and hydro.

“This proposed National Policy Statement will encourage the development of a diverse and resilient energy sector and create more confidence for investors in renewable electricity generation projects.”

The proposed statement will give guidance to Resource Management Act (RMA) decision makers such as councils, who must balance the national benefits of renewable electricity generation projects with local considerations.

“We’ve always said that our 90 percent renewables target does not require damming every river and putting wind turbines on every ridge line,” Trevor Mallard said.

The National Policy Statement on renewable energy announced today would require local authorities to consider the ‘reversibility’ of effects of new renewable generation.

“Obviously, the effects of damming a river are far greater than erecting wind turbines.  Large dams usually mean major permanent changes to water courses, with significant impacts on wildlife and ecosystems. 

“Our rivers are a resource not only for potential hydro generation but also for fishing, recreation, tourism and as a habitat for native species.”

The proposed National Policy Statement will encourage small-scale development of renewable electricity generation projects and reduce rural communities’ dependence on the national electricity grid by, for example, making it simpler to set up small renewable energy sources such as a wind turbine in the backyard.

“The government has already done major work in this area through the New Zealand Energy Strategy and the announcement of an Emissions Trading Scheme to price carbon emissions.  This policy statement is another significant stage in what is one of the key challenges facing the planet,” the Ministers said.

(See below for a table summarising planned renewable energy projects.)

The proposed national policy statement is now ready to go to an independent Board of Inquiry, also announced by the government today, for public consultation.  See this website for more information:

 Planned renewable electricity developments (as at August 2008)



Projects with RMA consents and under construction

Projects with RMA consents - not yet under construction

Applied for Consent



189 MW

313 MW

2411 MW

787 MW


13 MW

93 MW

343 MW

895 MW


260 MW

80 MW

225 MW

388 MW


0 MW

0 MW

0 MW

2 MW


0 MW

0 MW

0 MW

0 MW


0 MW

1 MW

200 MW

0 MW


462 MW

487 MW

3179 MW

2072 MW

Source: Ministry of Economic Development


 The Government’s work programme on electricity related issues

 Additional to the NPS announced today, the government is also undertaking work in the following areas:

 National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission 2008

The National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission was issued in March this year. It is a statement from central government to recognise the national significance of the national grid in RMA plans and decision-making. It is a high-level framework that gives guidance across New Zealand for the management and future planning of the national grid.

National Environmental Standards on Electricity Transmission in development

The Ministry for the Environment is currently developing two national environmental standards for electricity transmission (NES). The standards aim to provide national consistency in how electricity transmission activities are managed, assisting councils in implementing the NPS and providing for an increased national security of supply by protecting the national grid.

Non-statutory guidance in development

The Ministry for the Environment is developing non-statutory guidance for RMA decision makers to assist in the implementation of national policy statements and national environmental standards.

Additional Government activity and funding support on electricity related issues

  • The 2007 New Zealand Energy Strategy to 2050
  • The 2007 New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy
  • The 2007 announcement of an Emissions Trading Scheme which will price carbon emissions, including in the energy sector
  • Marine Energy Deployment Fund to bring forward the development of marine energy in New Zealand
  • EECA business programme to develop more energy efficient and competitive businesses including joint ventures to develop energy best practice with industry groups, and workplace education
  • Energy Star Rating Labels
  • The EnergyWise Home Grants programme to provide grants and advice for warmer, healthier and more energy efficient homes including grants to landlords for upgrading rental properties.
  • Home Energy Rating Scheme (under development )
  • The Solar water heating programme to encourage the uptake of solar water heating
  • Building Code review
  • 2004 Amendment of the RMA to ensure renewable energy is taken into account in decision-making under the RMA
  • The Govt³ programme supports government agencies to become more sustainable.