Blog: Focus on Energy

Home Insights Blog: Focus on Energy

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Published on: February 26, 2024


Blog Editors:


Mei Fern Johnson


Tom Gillespie


Breanna Macara

Senior Solicitor

Alice Gilbert

Senior Associate

As nations around the world attempt to reduce their carbon footprint in the face of climate change, attention has turned to the industry with the largest emissions globally – the Energy sector. The move towards decarbonisation is driving rapid growth in renewable energy, producing massive commercial opportunities for organisations that move fast. While the renewables sector is growing in significance, traditional energy sources are still an integral part of delivering baseload power.
We aim to keep you up-to-date and provide you with the latest insights into the Energy sector. Click on the links in the table below to access our latest thought leadership in this area.



26 February 2024

Financeability in revenue cap decisions for electricity distribution businesses

The Commerce Commission's upcoming default price-quality path decision (DPP4) will be a critical milestone for regulated electricity distribution businesses (EDBs) and their plans to significantly increase the level of investment in their networks, in the face of electrification-driven demand growth and an increasing focus on the need for more resilient networks. The Commission reports that the 16 regulated EDBs are forecasting approximately $8.4 billion of investment between 2025 and 2030.


22 February 2024

New Zealand's offshore renewable regime - Drawing on Australia's approach

In a speech two days ago, New Zealand's Minister for Energy the Honourable Simeon Brown, indicated that the Government intends to prioritise establishing a regulatory framework for offshore wind similar to Australia's, providing investors with some much needed confidence that offshore wind generation in New Zealand could be drawing closer.


24 January 2024

2023 in review and what this means for 2024

New Zealand has seen an eventful 2023, with the previous Labour Party-led government sinking its teeth into much of its covid-19 delayed energy sector development, then changing tack with Jacinda Ardern's resignation as prime minister. Now, the newly formed National Party-led government is releasing and already beginning to implement its equivalent policies.

In this latest Energy Blog update, we dive into the regulatory landscape in the energy sector in New Zealand and take a look at what's to come this year.


11 December 2023

Lines of travel – new Government's support for investment by electricity lines companies into renewable energy projects

With National, ACT, and New Zealand First signing coalition agreements on 24 November 2023, the direction of travel for the country's energy policy is becoming clearer. Recognising the need to electrify the economy, the new Government's policies indicate a strong intention to stimulate investment in the electricity distribution network through changes in resource management and regulatory regimes.

In this latest Energy Blog update, we look at how the new Government's policies could facilitate greater investment by electricity lines companies into renewable energy projects in New Zealand.

4 December 2023

Six key takeaways for New Zealand from the 2023 Offshore Wind Australia Conference

Contributed by: Mei Fern Johnson and Breanna Morgan

In this latest update, Lead Editor of our Energy BlogMei Fern Johnson shares six key takeaways from the Offshore Wind Australia Conference she attended at the end of November 2023 in Sydney, adapted for the New Zealand context.

7 November 2023

Commerce Commission's influence over energy transition

Contributed by: Craig Shrive, Ayesha Goel and Sophie Marris

In this update, Craig Shrive, Ayesha Goel and Sophie Marris consider the impacts of Issues Paper on Default price-quality paths for electricity distribution businesses recently released by the Commerce Commission. 

19 October 2023

A new turn for offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand?

Contributed by: Mei Fern JohnsonGareth Worthington and Georgia Thompson

In this update, our Energy Blog team consider what the change of government will likely mean for offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand, with the incoming National-led government committing to reversing a ban implemented by the previous Labour-led government. 

9 October 2023

National Party's Electrify NZ Policy Announcement

Contributed by: Mei Fern Johnson, Steven Sutton, Georgina Lomax-Sawyers and Laura Sahng

Late last week, the National Party announced another limb of its Electrify NZ policy ahead of the election. One of the key parts of this announcement is facilitating investment in offshore wind energy.

28 September 2023

Energy policies in the election year

With the General Election just a few weeks away, Mei Fern Johnson, Steven Sutton, Georgina Lomax-Sawyers and Laura Sahng have collated and summarised the energy-related policies from New Zealand's major political parties.

9 August 2023

Three days of Govt energy announcements put wind in NZ's 100%-renewable-energy-target sail

Contributed by: Mei Fern Johnson, Peter Callus, Alice Gilbert and Georgia Thompson

The Government has today announced the release of five eagerly awaited energy discussion papers (covering the Gas Transition Plan, offshore renewable energy regulations, interim hydrogen road map, electricity market measures and how to implement a ban on new fossil fuel baseload electricity generation). This release comes off the back of Monday's announcement on renewable energy in Aotearoa and fast-track consenting and Tuesday's announcement of the creation of the $2b climate infrastructure fund with BlackRock. Our experts summarise the details of these announcements, and what they mean for the industry.

19 July 2023

Consents for change of control of oil and gas assets in New Zealand

Contributed by: Mei Fern Johnson and Gareth Worthington

With OMV exploring the possibility of selling its oil and gas exploration and production assets in New Zealand, our Energy Blog authors provide an update on the relevant consent requirements for any transferee of those assets. 

5 July 2023

Delivering renewables in Aotearoa New Zealand: reflections from Building Nations 2023

Contributed by: Mei Fern Johnson and Kendra Wilson 

It is widely accepted that renewable energy needs to be a bigger part of Aotearoa's energy mix, but what are the commercial drivers and what are the current road blocks to delivering greater generation from renewable sources?

This topic was discussed at length by a panel of experts at the recent Building Nations 2023 conference.  

In this Energy Blog update, we outline the key takeaways of this panel discussion.

19 June 2023

Why low-emission credentials are increasingly critical when raising capital

Contributed by: Mei Fern JohnsonHannah Bain, Peter Callus, and Alastair Boswell

Crown Investors recently issued a position statement outlining the intention to work directly with New Zealand companies with the aim to better meet their climate objectives.

In this Energy Blog update, our experts discuss the position statement in more detail and how this will affect Crown Investors and New Zealand companies.

18 May 2023

Budget 2023 – no frills, bread-and-butter, Energy budget

Contributed by: Mei Fern Johnson, Georgina Lomax-Sawyers and Laura Sahng

The Government released its 2023 Budget, and while there were some announcements on the energy front that support the Government's ongoing efforts to foster a resilient, low-emissions economy, the initiatives are mostly focused on energy transition at the household level. We summarise the energy-related Budget announcements in our latest Energy Blog update.

28 April 2023

Open for consultation: Climate Change Commission's advice on the second emissions reduction plan

Contributed by: Hannah Bain and Mark Baker-Jones (Te Whakahaere) 

The Climate Change Commission released its draft advice on the second emissions reduction plan recently, covering the 5-year period from 2026 - 2030. In this update, we provide a summary of the key points and an overview of the advice, as well as sector specific recommendations and more. 

21 April 2023

Enabling renewable energy generation and electricity transmission in Aotearoa – new consultation documents released

Contributed by: Daniel Minhinnick and Alice Gilbert

The Government announced its proposed package of national direction tools to strengthen Aotearoa's planning framework to provide for and enable renewable energy generation and electricity transmission. In this update we discuss the new proposals in more detail including the proposed national policy statements and national environmental standards, and provide an overview of the timeframes and next steps involved.

13 April 2023

NZ oil and gas sector – Continued transition and regulatory framework

Contributed by: Mei Fern Johnson, Peter Callus and Gareth Worthington

New Zealand's oil and gas industry continues to go through a period of transition, with changes to the Crown Minerals Act 1991 (Act) in 2021 and proposed further amendments to the Act currently going through the select committee process. In this update we drill down into some of the regulatory details worth considering for parties applying for exploration permits or with existing permits.

3 March 2023

New Zealand's new offshore wind regulatory framework - Catching up with Australia, Asia and Europe

Contributed by: Mei Fern Johnson and Peter Callus 

The New Zealand Government has confirmed its intention to establish an offshore renewable energy framework by 2024 and has released the first of two consultation documents requesting submissions on the framework (submissions close on 14 April 2023). In this post, read about the consultation document and our take on it. 

8 February 2023

What's to come in 2023

Contributed by: Mei Fern Johnson, Daniel Minhinnick, Peter Callus and Alice Gilbert

In our first Energy Blog for 2023, we take a look back at 2022, a milestone year for energy matters in Aotearoa, and set out what's to come for the energy sector in the year ahead.

1 November 2022

Reducing energy emissions: Government releases terms of reference

Contributed by: Tim Clarke, Kate Butler and Chrystal Tocher

In this Energy Blog post, our Public Law team summarise MBIE's long-awaited Terms of Reference for the Government's New Zealand Energy Strategy. The Energy Strategy will support Aotearoa New Zealand's transition to a low emissions economy, as part of the Government's wider initiative to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

27 October 2022

Investing in utility scale solar in New Zealand: top 4 legal considerations

Contributed by: Mei Fern Johnson, Daniel Minhinnick, David Butler, Peter Callus and Gareth Worthington

In this Energy Blog post, we examine the top four legal considerations for anyone looking to invest in utility-scale solar projects in New Zealand.

23 August 2022

Green Hydrogen: Opportunities for New Zealand

Contributed by: Tom Gillespie and Jess Juby

In our latest Energy Blog post, Linda Wright, CEO of the New Zealand Hydrogen Council, shares her knowledge about green hydrogen and the opportunities New Zealand has to use and export this clean energy source.  

28 July 2022

Powering ahead with offshore wind regulatory settings – is Aotearoa New Zealand open for business?

Contributed by: Mei Fern Johnson, Daniel Minhinnick, Peter Callus, and Alice Gilbert

In this Energy Blog post, find out what the future could hold for offshore wind in New Zealand and the legal consenting framework that would be required to support this potentially burgeoning industry.

2 June 2022

Lessons from Australia on Offshore Wind

Contributed by: Andy Evans (Oceanex Energy), Mei Fern Johnson, Peter Callus, and Jemima Allison

In this edition of our Energy Blog we interviewed Andy Evans, co-founder and CEO of Oceanex Energy, who gave us an in-depth look at the offshore industry in Australia and the lessons New Zealand should be taking from Australia's model. 

19 May 2022

Emissions Reduction Plan

Contributed by Mei Fern Johnson and Peter Callus

New Zealand's first Emissions Reduction Plan (Plan) was released 16 May 2022 along-side the Climate Response Fund publication. In this Energy Blog post we take a broad look at the plan from the energy lens and share our thoughts on the impact the Plan is likely to have on reducing New Zealand's emissions.

5 April 2022

Lessons from the UK and ScotWind

Contributed by: Caroline Taylor (Totum Compliance), Mei Fern Johnson, Tom Gillespie, Peter Callus and Alice Gilbert.

With the help of Caroline Taylor, CEO of Totum Compliance, we take a deep dive into the success of the UK and Scottish offshore wind regimes in the second part of our Energy blog. 

9 March 2022

The winds are changing - can the NZ legal system keep up?  

Contributed by: Mei Fern Johnson, Dan Minhinnick, Peter Callus, Kirsty Dibley, and Maggie Burns.

In this latest edition of our Energy Blog we take a look at the legal landscape for offshore wind in New Zealand - where it's currently at and where there's potential for improvement - and look at legal developments overseas.

8 December 2021

Innovative financing model to accelerate adoption of low emissions vehicles

Contributed by: Tom Hunt and Bevan Peachey

NZ Post and the New Zealand Green Investment Finance signed a $20 million financing agreement to accelerate the transition of the NZ Post fleet and its delivery contractors’ vehicles to electric vans or low emissions vehicles. Find our more about this deal here. 

9 November 2021

Auckland Airport resets post-COVID infrastructure plans

In this article we find out more about Auckland Airport's infrastructure reset following the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

17 February 2021

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga, releases report on energy infrastructure

Contributed by: Tom Hunt and Georgia Bellett

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga, is the Minister for Infrastructure's key advisor. Te Waihanga released a new discussion document that examines the state of play in New Zealand's energy sector – the latest in a series of discussion documents that focus on specific key infrastructure sectors. 


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