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Labour pledges 100% renewable energy generation by 2030

Labour is promising 100 per cent renewable energy generation in New Zealand by 2030 - following the Green Party's pledge and pulling forward the current target by five years. 

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nergy spokesperson Megan Woods made the announcement today. Source: 1 NEWS

Leader Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today, saying the Covid-19 economic recovery "represents a once in a generation opportunity to reshape New Zealand’s energy system to be more renewable faster, affordable and secure".

"We need to take steps right now and also plan 30 years ahead to ensure New Zealand has stable, sustainable and affordable energy while also protecting jobs and industries," she said. 

Energy spokesperson Megan Woods said currently New Zealand already produces 84 per cent of its energy from renewable sources.

"But we can do better," she said.

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Labour promised today to speed up the process for making the nation 100 per cent reliant on renewables. National said it’s already been tried, and didn’t work. Source: 1 NEWS

"We will stop activities that increase our emissions by, for example, banning new thermal baseload generation; and promote clean energy development."

"We are committed to taking the next steps to get to 100 per cent 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."

It is a promise the Green Party reiterated in July - and a date co-leader James Shaw told Newsroom he pushed for during negotiations in the Government's formation. 

Labour and Greens' 2017 coalition and supply agreement said it would ask the Climate Commission to plan the transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035.

Today, Shaw said he was pleased Labour had now "come to the table" on bringing the target forward. 

"Labour’s plan also doesn’t move fast enough to phase out coal. While they’ve signaled some action here, it’s less than what’s required."

"We have a crisis on our hands," Shaw said.

"The science is clear that urgent transformation is needed to ensure a stable climate for future generations."

Labour’s plan also doesn’t move fast enough to phase out coal - James Shaw

National's Judith Collins said bringing forward the target was a "lovely sentiment but the Labour Party needs to front up and tell them just how much it's going to cost them in increased electricity prices". 

"What we know is that it would put up huge costs to electricity users."

Woods said Labour could achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by accelerating the second stage of a pumped hydro storage solution at Lake Onslow by giving it $70 million upfront, to remove regulatory barriers to renewable electricity generation and restoring a ban on new thermal baseload generation.

The Interim Climate Change Committee found in 2019 that "New Zealand is likely to reach an average of 93 per cent renewable electricity by 2035".

It also found it would be "technically feasible to achieve 100% renewable electricity" but it would be "very costly". 

"This means building additional renewable generation like wind and solar to cover dry years, and substantially increasing battery storage and demand response."

It recommended the accelerated electrification of transport and process heat over pursuing 100% renewable electricity by 2035, and to investigate "the potential for pumped hydro storage to eliminate the use of fossil fuels in the electricity system".