New Zealand PM promises tighter target for renewables if re-elected


September 14 (Renewables Now) - The New Zealand Labour Party will propose to push the 100% renewable electricity target to 2030, five years ahead of the original goal, if it secures re-election in October.

Announcing the new targets for the country, New Zealand prime minister and party leader Jacinda Ardern said that the Clean Energy Plan “is a critical element of Labour’s wider COVID-19 recovery plan” and will promote electrification of the transport and industrial sectors and investment in emerging technologies such as green hydrogen.

At the same time, the Labour Party will seek to ban new thermal base-load generation.

“We are committed to taking the next steps to get to 100% renewable with support for projects like pumped hydro at Lake Onslow, removing the barriers to development of new renewable electricity projects, advancing green hydrogen and other green technologies and supporting businesses to decarbonise,” said Labour Energy spokesperson Megan Woods.

The green hydrogen project is already under way with Ardern taking part in the launch ceremony at the Mokai geothermal plant just after announcing the new ambitions for renewables.

Slated to become operational in early 2021, the 1.5-MW system will source geothermal power for the production of hydrogen. The project is the product of Halcyon Power, a joint venture between New Zealand’s Tuaropaki Trust, a diversified business which owns the Mokai plant, and Japanese construction company Obayashi Corp (TYO:1802).

The partners will also work to implement a hydrogen supply chain for New Zealand and Japan, Halcyon Power said in a separate statement.

New Zealand already relies on renewables for 84% of its electricity. Ardern said that “the COVID-19 recovery represents a once in generation opportunity to reshape New Zealand’s energy system” and make the transition to clean alternatives faster.

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