New Zealand Law Starts Boosting Renewable Energies

The government of New Zealand, facing possible power cuts because of a major drought, has passed a new electricity law which will force systems to be put in place to make it easier for distributed generation to feed into the market.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, NZ, 2001-08-21 [SolarAccess.com] The government of New Zealand, facing possible power cuts because of a major drought, has passed a new electricity law which will force systems to be put in place to make it easier for distributed generation to feed into the market. A process for deciding on and requiring the removal of transmission constraints will be put in place, and price control will apply to any transmission lines companies abusing their monopoly power. The country’s Labour government, which inherited a deregulated electricity market, says it does not intend to re-regulate controls at this stage but, according to energy minister Pete Hodgson, the industry must clean up its act and satisfy consumers facing major price rises because of the current drought. New Zealand’s adherence to the Kyoto Protocol “will help drive a significant expansion in our use of renewable energy sources,” he predicts. “The electricity legislation just passed, significantly opens up the scope for that expansion, particularly by line companies. There is now no limit on the amount of generation line companies can invest in, using new renewable energy sources.” The government policy will require market rules to facilitate the use of new renewables technologies, and Hodgson says the new legislation requires industry publication of amalgamated hedge prices to increase transparency and the possibility of a secondary hedge market. Retailers and large consumers will have better information, which they can ignore at their peril. “The most valuable thing I can say to the New Zealand business community about climate change … is to be alert to the opportunities that will be opened up for New Zealand by the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol,” he adds. “It is going to be a powerful force for change in an economy that is still based far too much on the wasteful use of energy. “I wish we were already much further down the road of energy efficiency and conservation than we are, but we have started,” he explains. “I will be releasing the final draft of New Zealand’s first ever National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy on September 27. We should have had one years ago, but at least we’ll have one soon.”
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