A policy commitment to a sustainable energy future including improvements in energy efficiency and a progressive transition to renewable sources of energy was outlined in the Government’s Energy Policy Framework of October 2000.
This was followed up in September 2001 by release of Government’s National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (NEECS) – Towards a Sustainable Energy Future This overarching initiative was intended to guide policy development and had two high-level targets for 2012:
- economy-wide energy efficiency improvement of at least 20%
- between 25 and 55 PJ of additional consumer energy from renewable resources.
In February 2002, Government promulgated a Growth and Innovation Framework (GIF) as an another umbrella initiative for Government policy development, with the overarching aim of returning New Zealand’s per capita income to the top half of the OEDC.
In October 2002, Government confirmed a target of 30 PJ of additional renewable energy by 2012, an increase of 22% over year 2000 renewable energy use. The target is expected to be achieved through an expansion of the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy’s renewable energy programme and through implementation of the Government’s Climate Change Projects Mechanism.
One of the overarching goals of the Government’s Sustainable Development Programme of Action or Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI) of January 2003 was to ensure the delivery of energy services to all classes of consumer in an efficient, fair, reliable and sustainable manner. In addition to creating a more energy efficient society, the programme sought to develop and maximise renewable energy sources to ensure New Zealand consumers have a secure supply of electricity.
In 2004 Government released the discussion document Sustainable Energy: Creating a Sustainable Energy System for New Zealand.
In 2005 the Government began a review of the NEECS with a view to an updated strategy by 2006, five years after the release of the initial strategy. A framework for the replacement of the NEECS was issued on 4 July 2006 for comment (see external site). In particular, this calls for a “bolder and more aggressive” replacement strategy.
The government has continued to develop its energy sustainability policy through the New Zealand Energy Strategy (see external site) and has issued terms of reference on 4 July 2006.
The government has been careful to tie together the various strands of policy development including NEECS replacement, New Zealand Energy Strategy, Climate Change Policy and a Transport Strategy.
Government has undertaken several R&D funding initiatives, including the NZ Venture and Investment Fund to invest $100M of public and $200M of private money in seed, start-up and early-stage investment. The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology currently funds geothermal research in Crown Research Institutes, and while FRST is guided by strategies such as GIF, individual research programmes may not achieve the required gains without their integration into a robust framework.
- Ministry of Economic Development. New Zealand Energy Outlook to 2025.
- Centre for Advanced Engineering 2003. Distributed generation: a study of opportunities. CAE Comments 02.
- White, BR 2003. Some recent and current Government initiatives related to geothermal energy. Proceedings 25th NZ Geothermal Workshop.