6 Oct 2023

National promises offshore wind permits process within a year

10:59 am on 6 October 2023
National Party leader Christopher Luxon at Rocket Lab in Auckland following an announcement about the space industry.

National leader Christopher Luxon Photo: RNZ / Tim Collins

National is promising to require faster permits for offshore wind consenting as part of its Electrify NZ policy unveiled in March.

The party unveiled the offshore wind expansion to its policy on Friday morning, with party leader Christopher Luxon saying less than one percent of New Zealand's exclusive economic zone could generate 600 percent of the country's renewable energy needs.

National's policy promised to:

  • Fast track permits offshore wind permits to make way for feasibility studies
  • Complete government's offshore wind regulations including commercial permits within one year
  • Require offshore wind generation resource consent decisions to be made within two years of application
  • Require consents for new transmission lines to be issued within a year, and eliminate consents for upgrading existing lines (within limits)
  • Work with Crown Research Institutes on weather and geology data to support offshore wind investment

Luxon promised the regulations would be completed within a year of taking office.

The two-year consent deadline is a year longer than the party's policy would offer for onshore wind, solar or geothermal generation.

New Zealand currently has no offshore wind generation.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is currently developing a permits system for offshore wind, which would include seven-year feasibility permits granting exclusive rights for investors to test an area's suitability, followed by a commercial permits allowing a wind farm to be built in the ocean once the feasibility study was complete.

National said it would continue with this, but use a contestable process to issue the feasibility permits.

Permits would also require offshore wind projects to be fully decommissioned by the permit holder once they reached the end of their useful life.

The party said it would also work constructively with iwi in a manner consistent with Treaty principles.

Luxon said the policy would "unleash investment in offshore wind generation".

"National will also support local port upgrades for offshore wind by establishing a National Infrastructure Agency to improve funding, procurement and delivery of infrastructure, and look to provide further support through city and regional deals."

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