NZ government to ban fossil fuel electricity generation

The New Zealand government is committing to making it increasingly difficult for businesses to rely on energy generated from fossil fuels.

Further to banning new offshore oil and gas exploration in 2018, and committing to a “100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030” target, the Government is planning to ban electricity companies from investing in new baseload generation from fossil fuels like coal and gas.

New Zealand has in recent years relied heavily on coal to generate electricity when lake levels have been low and gas plants have had outages for maintenance.

While electricity companies are already planning to invest more in clean energy, like wind, to meet ever-growing electricity demands, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will start consulting on the ban later this year. It plans to have it in place by 2024.

This was one of the energy-related initiatives the Government unveiled on Monday in its Emissions Reduction Plan, which outlines how New Zealand will meet its emissions budgets.

While the plan includes a number of sticks, it also includes carrots. For example, the Government is committing to putting more than $650 million over four years towards various schemes aimed at decarbonising the energy system.

This funding will largely come from revenue generated from the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said funding will go towards big projects to decarbonise process heat.

“There will also be targeted investment at a regional level for projects that optimise low emission fuel use, funding for electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure upgrades to support fuel-switching, and the early adoption of high decarbonisation energy technologies,” she said.

Specifically, the Government plans to provide rebates for businesses, including small businesses, farms and factories, to procure and install energy efficient electrical equipment. It hopes to do this between 2022 and 2028.

It plans to get central and local government to explore power purchase agreements with new renewable generation projects.


Tags: coal, Electricity, Fossil Fuel, Gas, New Zealand
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