National announces plan to double renewable energy

Fri, Mar 31
National MP Chris Bishop speaks to media alongside Christopher Luxon, Simeon Brown and Paul Goldsmith about their Electrify NZ plan.

The National party has announced plans to double New Zealand's renewable energy supply by cutting consenting red tape, should it win the next election.

"National wants a future where buses and trains are powered by clean electricity, where we go on holiday in cars powered by clean electricity, and where industrial processing plants are powered by clean electricity, not coal," National party leader Christopher Luxon said.

"But to do that, we need to double the amount of renewable electricity we produce from New Zealand's abundant natural resources — particularly solar, wind and geothermal."

Luxon described the current consenting regime as an unnecessary barrier, saying a new wind farm will take 10 year to complete — "eight years to obtain resource consent, and two years to build."

He cited research by Sapere Research Group, which estimated that, since 2010, resource consent costs have increased by 140% and the time to get a consent has increased by 150%.

Doubling renewable generation would reduce transport and energy emissions by 70% and overall emissions by 22 million tonnes by 2050, which gets us to almost a third of the way to reaching our target of net carbon zero emissions, he said.

He said this can be done by requiring all resource consent decisions to be issued in one year and consents to last for 35 years, and increasing investment in transmission poles, lines and pylons by eliminating consents for upgrades to new and existing infrastructure.

This means councils would have a much shorter timeframe to deal with proposed builds; they would be required to grant consents within a year.

National has said they might look at providing resources to councils to meet the short timeframes but haven't put anything on the table yet.

"National believes Kiwis should not have to do less to achieve our climate goals," Luxon said.

"We can still drive cars, we can still heat our homes, and we can still grow the economy — but we need to power it with clean energy powered by rain, wind, sun or geothermal."

"It's no exaggeration to say that renewables are in fact the new oil. A country would once have been considered fortunate to have oil reserves, but now it’s lucky to have renewables."

National MP Chris Bishop called New Zealand "the Saudi Arabia of renewables".

Luxon said National's climate policy goes beyond this announcement and will release a plan to lower agricultural emissions "on another occasion".