The NZ Government has announced a significant step towards its goal of 100% renewable electricity generation. The Government is exploring a new infrastructure plan for renewable energy that Energy & Resources Minister Megan Woods calls a “game changer” for consumers and the creation of a low-emissions economy.
The government says it is investigating options to ‘green the grid’ as part of a new, transformative infrastructure plan for renewable energy that will:
The changes are still a way off. At the moment the government has assigned $30 million to fund a close examination of the plans recommended by the Interim Climate Change Committee. This includes a combination of hydro schemes and other renewable energy sources such as wind - to manage peak demand, dry hydrological years and intermittent production.
The $30 million allocated will pay for the detailed development of a business case for a solution to address New Zealand’s dry year storage problem. This analysis will mostly focus on a pumped hydro storage project at Lake Onslow in Central Otago, but will also include the assessment of smaller potential pumped storage options in the North Island, as well as other alternative technologies.
"If a business case stacks up pumped hydro would be a game changer for securing sustainable, cheaper, low-emissions electricity for the long term," Megan Woods said.
"This would be transformative for our energy system, and we would no longer be reliant on fossil fuels for meeting our electricity demand.”
"The project could create thousands of jobs, make wholesale electricity cheaper in the long run, and it would decarbonise the grid as we wouldn’t have to rely on coal and gas to make electricity.”
New Zealand ranks pretty well when it comes to sustainable electricity generation through hydro and wind. But we still rely on fossil fuels like coal to top up the national power grid when needed. If you’d like to be proactive about powering your home with clean, safe, renewable energy - installing solar panels in your home can reduce your reliance on the national grid and help create a more sustainable cleaner energy mix.