14 Sep 2018

Greenpeace wants govt to use funds for solar panels instead of oil and gas

11:53 am on 14 September 2018

Greenpeace is calling on the government to kit out New Zealand homes with solar panels by using the funds currently subsidising the oil and gas industry.

No caption

Photo: Lance Cpl. John Robbart III

Earlier this year the government banned offshore exploration, and Greenpeace claimed $88 million was being paid in subsidies to the industry, which could be used for solar panels and batteries for 1.5 million New Zealand homes over the next ten years.

Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson said a report on the future of energy from the national grid operator showed that energy systems were increasingly shifting to electricity, and she said that meant New Zealand needed to increase the amount of electricity that was produced.

"One of their forecasts is that 1.5 million households will need to go solar, and what we're saying is that it's time to kick start that right away by getting 500,000 homes kitted out with panels and batteries over ten years," she said.

Going solar would be financially beneficial for homeowners who would not have to deal with any upfront costs and would provide zero interest loans, she said.

"The plan would provide additional support to 100,000 lower income homes through a government grant that would cover at least half the system cost. The zero interest loans would be attached to the house that receives the solar panels and batteries, not to the individuals who own it or rent it. They could be administered through Regional Councils, and paid back through rates."

The plan was launched yesterday as the organisation's flagship, Rainbow Warrior, arrived in Auckland to celebrate the government's April announcement banning offshore oil and gas permits.

The oil and gas industry says Greenpeace is talking complete rubbish about how much government subsidies it receives.

Petroleum Exploration and Production New Zealand chief executive Cameron Madgwick said in a statement the government provided less than $4 million in government support - and none of that was direct subsidies.

Of the government support, $3.2m goes towards petroleum geoscience, including increasing New Zealand's knowledge of fault lines and natural hazards, the statement read.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs