New Zealand explores offshore renewables as part of transition to clean energy

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The New Zealand Government is seeking public feedback on the development of offshore renewable energy infrastructure such as wind farms.

“Offshore renewables have the potential to produce the electricity needed to replace fossil fuels and support New Zealand’s transition to net zero by 2050,” says Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods.

“Technology like wind farms set off the coast of New Zealand can deliver a clean, stable source of renewable energy to help us become more energy-independent and avoid the fluctuations in cost of fossil fuels like oil and coal,” says Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods.

“The proposals released today set out potential approaches to manage feasibility activity, with consideration of environmental and cultural factors alongside commercial viability.

“This delivers on our commitment to regulate this promising area of renewable energy production, so investors have certainty and can get assessments underway as soon as possible,” says Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods.

The potential environmental and cultural impacts will be closely examined before decisions are made about what projects could be constructed and this will require developers to work closely with iwi to understand these impacts.

“We firmly see Taranaki’s future as still being an energy future. New Zealand has high levels of renewable resources – so we are well positioned globally to create a sustainable energy system for generations to come,” says Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods.

“Ensuring we have the right settings in place to encourage development of offshore renewable infrastructure will enable us to deliver net zero emissions by 2050,” says Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods.

Megan Woods also announced the Government is deferring decisions on future petroleum block offers.

In 2018, the previous Coalition Government announced an end to new offshore oil drilling and committed to another three rounds of block offers (2018, 2019 and 2020), which is the permit tender process for new drilling in onshore Taranaki.

It also said decisions about future block offers beyond those committed would be made at a later date. Two of the tenders have been completed and the last (2020) remains in progress.

The announcement means there will be no further petroleum exploration permits granted, beyond what is already underway, until early in the next Parliamentary term.

“I am not committing to any further block offers now. Decisions will be made early in the next Parliamentary term when there will be a better evidence base of future demand,” says Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods.

“This Government is committed to scaling up the renewable energy sector to phase out harmful fossil fuels. While fossil fuels remain essential today, the needs of tomorrow need to be properly understood to support future generations of New Zealanders,” says Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods.

“During this time, I will continue engagement with Taranaki hapū and iwi on the future of the block offer process, to better understand their position.”

“Our actions to date have made room for clean renewables to take over from polluting oil and gas. I am committed to keeping up this momentum to decarbonise the energy sector,” says Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods.

Click here to have your say on the offshore renewable energy consultation on the MBIE website.

Submissions will be used to help inform policy decisions to enable early feasibility assessments to develop offshore renewable energy infrastructure in New Zealand. Submissions close on 14 April 2023.

Source: © Crown copyright

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