Assuming no change in New Zealand’s approach to electricity generation transmission and consumption, electricity-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are projected to rise by 50 per cent by 2030. The government believes this would not only be environmentally irresponsible, but that it would place New Zealand exports at a disadvantage, increase the country’s exposure to the cost of imported fossil fuels and threaten New Zealand’s reputation as a clean, green tourist destination. As such, the government has adopted a target for renewable electricity generation of 90 per cent by 2025 (based on delivered electricity in an average hydrological year).
In the period from 1991 to mid-2006, however, only 17 per cent of electricity generation capacity consented has been renewable and the total proportion of electricity generated in New Zealand from fossil fuels increased significantly. A key reason for this trend is that the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) does not clearly establish the significance of the benefits of renewable electricity generation projects. This has led to increasing uncertainty in the marketplace, which has potentially discouraged investment and has the potential to frustrate development opportunities into the future.
The proposed national policy statement (NPS) will, unlike other alternatives, establish the national significance of the benefits associated with these activities, and will provide a consistent national policy framework for decision-makers considering applications and submissions on renewable electricity generation activities. The objective and policies of the proposed NPS will support an increase in the proportion of electricity generated in New Zealand from renewable energy sources such that 90 per cent of New Zealand’s electricity will be generated from renewable sources by 2025. The New Zealand economy will benefit from increased security of electricity supply and reduced costs of compliance with international climate change obligations. Costs will arise as local authorities amend plans and policy statements in order to give effect to the proposed NPS.
This is a draft Regulatory Impact Statement for the purpose of consultation. A later Regulatory Impact Statement will be circulated for comment and reviewed for adequacy by the Regulatory Impact Analysis Unit before final policy decisions are sought.