Local government responsibilities include long term planning for their communities, and managing developments in line with those plans.
Long Term Council Community Plans
Long Term Council Community Plans are important documents, providing a framework for direction and priorities. The following guidelines will help you factor in energy efficiency and renewable energy when developing these plans.
Resource Management Act 1991
The Resource Management 1991 requires particular regard be given to the efficiency of the end use of energy, the effects of climate change, and the benefits to be derived from the use and development of renewable energy resources. This is relevant to the consideration of resource consent applications and when policy statements and plans are reviewed or changed.
The Government has adopted a National Policy Statement (NPS) for Renewable Electricity Generation under the RMA that will drive a consistent approach to planning for renewable electricity generation in New Zealand by giving clear government direction on the benefits of renewable electricity generation and requiring all councils to make provision for it in their plans. The NPS was developed to support the Government's target that 90% of electricity generation is to come from renwable sources by 2025 (in an average hydrological year) providing this does not affect security of supply. View the media release. More information is available on the Ministry for the Environment's website.
EECA has produced a guidance document to explain the technical terms and concepts used in the NPS. It is intended for use mainly by local government decision makers, but also the general public. The guide provides an introduction to renewable electricity in New Zealand including an overview of the New Zealand electricity system and market, an explanation of the renewable electricity target - 90% by 2025 and a summary of the most common types of renewable electricity generation technologies. It does not provide guidance on the environmental effects of renewable electricity generation activities that can span local, regional and national scales other than in association with the day to day operation and maintenance of renewable electricity generation activities. The guidance should be read in conjunction with the Ministry for the Environment NPS REG Implementation Guide which is available from their website and which provides local authorities with direction on how to implement the NPS in policy statements and plans and includes example planning provisions.
EECA works to assist Councils with regard to these matters. To find out more about this work email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 358 676.
Regional energy strategies
A regional energy strategy looks at the whole spectrum of energy resources and demand-side opportunities available within a specific region. A number of regions are developing regional energy strategies.
EECA and other government agencies have information about energy use and potential renewable energy resources at both a national, regional, and local level, which can help in developing these regional plans.
To find out more about developing a regional energy strategy in your area email email@example.com or call 0800 358 676.
Read the current strategies:
- The Northland Energy Forum's Strategic Plan, released in early 2012, aims to grow Northland's economy through a reliable, sustainable, diverse, and economic supply of energy. For more information about the strategy, contact Enterprise Northland (09 438 5110).
- The Bay of Plenty Regional Energy Strategy was launched in December 2011 by Bay Connections, a group comprising local organisations, industry sectors, and representatives from local and central government. The Strategy is aimed at creating a foundation for individuals and business in identifying and successfully pursuing opportunities available from the region's sustainable resources. Read the media release or for more information about the strategy, contact Bay Connections (0800 884 881 x8350).
- The Southland Energy Strategy was adopted in 2011 to replace the 2003 strategy. The Strategy was developed with key stakeholders and identifies key opportunities with regards to energy generation, storage and use. It provides a high level overview of areas of risk which will need to be addressed while considering the opportunities, in order to maintain economic, cultural and social wellbeing, as well as protect the region's environmental values. For more information about the strategy, contact Venture Southland (03 211 1400).
- The Waikato Regional Energy Strategy, which was launched in August 2009, provides a comprehensive map of the Waikato's current energy resources, and a range of recommendations on ways in which the region's energy resources could be further developed. For more information about the strategy, contact Environment Waikato (07-859-0851).
The following are relevant to local government when influencing energy use and generation in their communities: