The problem with the current crop of politicians is that none of them have any concrete suggestions for the electrical system, they seem to be stuck in endless non interventionisit thinking, reviews, analysis and reporting on the system. The fact that New Zealand already has a healthy renewables proportion is serendipitous, it is more by good luck than good management. Apart from Labor who put in place a ban on thermal base load stations to 2018 a few years ago (that was subsequently removed by national), we have sat back and trusted “market forces” to make the correct decisions for us. While this might enable up to limp along in a Business as Usual scenario, my assertion is that we can not rely on market forces in the coming years, the time has come to actually make some decisions. The next 20 years are going to be quite unlike the last with regards to Energy. Government Intervention is required.
1 – CURRENT GOVERNMENT – Ministry of Economic Development 90% by 2025 – “Renewable electricity generation target. The Government retains the target that 90 percent of electricity generation be from renewable sources by 2025, (in an average hydrological year) providing this does not affect security of supply. New Zealand has an abundance of renewable resources, for electricity generation. Renewables contributed 74 percent of electricity generation in 2010. While providing low emissions electricity, our renewable choices help sustain our reputation as an environmentally- responsible nation. The economic competitiveness of new renewable electricity generation will be enhanced by a price on carbon. The Government welcomes and expects to see considerably more investment in renewable electricity generation, particularly from geothermal and wind resources. Achieving this target must not be at the expense of the security and reliability of our electricity supply. For the foreseeable future some fossil fuel generation will be required to support supply security” http://www.med.govt.nz/sectors-industries/energy/pdf-docs-library/nz-energy-strategy-lr.pdf
The Problem with the current official strategy is that the government has not put in place any measures, regulations or interventions to achieve it
Refer to this review of the current electricity market by IPENZ the Institute of Professional Engineers of New Zealand, these guys certainly know what they are looking at, but don’t have any particular vision or preference, they are simply stating how it is:
“IPENZ considers the 90 per cent renewables target is not, and never was, a practical target. It is incompatible with the New Zealand non-interventionist approach to generation investment, and this is in stark contrast to the approach of most other countries with targets. New Zealand is already producing a high proportion of its electricity from renewable sources. IPENZ considers any real progress towards achieving the renewables objectives has been serendipitous, and that the main reasons for progress have been the transition from low-cost Maui-fuelled thermal generation and improvements in technology. These make renewable projects, particularly wind, more competitive…. Our analysis indicates the renewables percentage will be about 71 per cent in 2025 – well below the government’s renewables target of 90 per cent.”
2 – The Labor Party – 90% renewable by 2025 – “It’s great that the National government have at least said they agree with the 90% renewable target put in place under the last Labour government, but we need to do a lot better if we’re going to meet it” While I could not seem to find a bullet point energy policy online, I did find a general blog post http://labour.org.nz/news/energy-and-resources-policy-new-zealand-where%E2%80%99s-plan which outlines a number of common sense objectives, but again it is an uninspiring plan, not likely to capture the imaginations of anybody who is going to read it.
3 – Green Party Policy – Do not set a specific % goal with regards to their desire to move towards more renewable electricity in New Zealand, they do however offer up a very common sense “holistic” approach to the grid, but it is all very generalistic and not really something that is going to inspire people to action – this is well worth a read if you want to increase your understanding of the New Zealand Energy System http://www.greens.org.nz/policy/energy-policy
4 – WWF are calling for 90% renewable electricity generation by 2025 and 100% by 2035 leading eventually to a fully energy independent New Zealand 100% letter from WWF