Renewable Energy in New Zealand: The Reluctance for Resilience

Part of the Lecture Notes in Energy book series (LNEN, volume 23)


This chapter explores renewable energy governance in the context of New Zealand’s “energy culture”. New Zealand enjoys an international reputation as being a clean and green country. Yet surface appearances can be deceptive. Image frequently trumps reality. The green label is largely an exercise in branding (the country is the latest recipient of the “Fossil Award”), although energy is one of the areas where this might not hold. New Zealand’s energy supply mix is impressive, the majority of it being drawn from renewable sources. However, global warming will severely impact upon our ability to generate adequate amounts of electrical power in a sustainable manner, and our centralised corporate-dominated supply system is poorly placed to deal with the challenges that lie ahead. These issues are compounded by various political problems such as ownership of resources and access to the grid. Numerous questions arise: can water be commodified or is it held in common? Does it properly belong to the indigenous people of this country? Why is there no feed-in tariff and why are smart meters not being installed? To explore the topic of renewable energy governance we examine various components of the national energy culture, energy policies and resources. We then look at the likely impacts of climate change, the current state of the deregulated electricity supply industry and why the “business as usual” model is set to prevail. This is illustrated by reference to two case studies—of the potential for distributed generation to contribute towards future electricity demands in Auckland and the proposed district energy system in Christchurch—in both cases we identify a worrying reluctance for resilience.


Renewable Energy Electric Vehicle Heat Pump Wind Farm Smart Grid 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Art Architecture and DesignUniversity of LincolnLincolnUK
  2. 2.Faculty of ArtsUniversity of AucklandGraftonNew Zealand

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