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Energy Blog: What's to come in 2023

Home Insights Energy Blog: What's to come in 2023

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

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Published on: February 08, 2023


Welcome back to the Energy Blog for 2023! To kick things off, we reflect on 2022, which was another milestone year for energy matters in Aotearoa. We then set our sights on what’s coming up in 2023.
Last year we saw:

  • the release of the national adaptation plan and emissions reduction plan (you can read our overview of the emissions reduction plan here and here);

  • the development of terms of reference for the New Zealand Energy Strategy (you can read our overview of these terms here);

  • Transpower receiving a significant increase in the number of enquiries to connect new generation (with 107 generation enquiries, more than the combined total of the 6 years before that);1

  • multiple large-scale solar farms in various stages of development, including UK based Harmony Energy consenting 147MW in Te Aroha West, Waikato2 and Lodestone Energy breaking ground in Kaitaia, being the first of five large solar farms;3

  • a governmental announcement on the development of an offshore renewables regulatory framework (see our insights into a potential framework here);

  • initial work on a roadmap for hydrogen in New Zealand (for further insights into this industry, see our interview with Dr Linda Wright, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Hydrogen Council here);

  • Woodside Energy selected by Meridian as the preferred partner to move forward to the development stage of the proposed Southern Green Hydrogen (SGH) project in New Zealand;4

  • the introduction of the Natural and Built Environments Bill and Spatial Planning Bill to replace the Resource Management Act 1991 (see our top 10 things to know about the Bills here); and

  • Transpower's consultation on its proposed Renewable Energy Zones (REZ).

2023 is promising to continue the momentum and we have set out below our top energy matters on the horizon for 2023:




Transpower Connections Management Framework and dashboard

Following consultation last year (in response to unprecedented connection requests), Transpower has implemented its revised application process and dashboard for <500MW connections to ensure applicants can demonstrate "project readiness" and payment of a fee before being allocated grid capacity.
Look out for our thoughts on this in an upcoming Energy Blog post.

January 2023

RMA Reform – submissions due

Submissions have closed on the Natural and Built Environment Bill and Spatial Planning Bill. The Select Committee is expected to report back to Parliament in May 2023.
We expect to see the new Act passed before the election this year!

5 February 2023

NZ Battery Project

Decision expected on the NZ Battery Project at Lake Onslow following the completion of Phase 1 feasibility studies and delay of the decisions in December last year.
Watch this space and see our Infrastructure Market Update for more information here.

First quarter 2023

Meridian Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)

Meridian recently announced that it would commence construction of a large-scale BESS project in the first quarter of 2023, being a 100MW system at Ruakākā.
Energy storage is an increasingly important link in the electricity system if NZ is to meet its 100% renewable electricity generation target.

First quarter 2023

New transmission pricing methodology

Transpower (New Zealand's national transmission grid owner and system operator) will implement a new transmission pricing methodology.
Watch this space as the new methodology is reported to become under scrutiny from judicial review.

1 April 2023

Consultation on a new offshore renewables regulatory framework

Feedback can be provided on the proposed approaches to the initial feasibility stage of offshore renewables development. See here for more information.

Exciting to see this consultation move forward – the open question for us is whether the Government can implement at pace in accordance with its intent to have a framework in place by 2024.

14 April 2023

Report due on Sustainable Biofuel Obligation Bill

Evidence on the Bill has been given at Select Committee which if passed into law would come into effect from 1 April 2024 starting with a 2.4% emissions reduction target.
How closely NZ ties into international standards and what type of biofuels are permitted are key aspects of submissions on the Bill.

27 April 2023

National direction for climate change

A National Policy Statement and National Environmental Standard is expected to come into force on industrial heat greenhouse gas emissions (including an immediate ban on new industrial low temperature coal burning activities).
National direction to address industrial GHG emissions will undoubtedly shake up industrial processes.

First half of 2023

Regulatory backstop under the Fuel Industry Act 2020

MBIE is developing a regulatory backstop under the Fuel Industry Act 2020, which would allow terminal gate prices of wholesale suppliers to be price regulated if the New Zealand Commerce Commission considers that excessive terminal gate prices are being offered.
Regulation of our fuels sector continues to be under scrutiny. Market forces vs government intervention – a tale as old as time!

Mid 2023

RMA reform – Bills passed

The Natural and Built Environment Bill and Spatial Planning Bill are proposed to be enacted before the general election.
See our top 10 things to know here. A new regulatory landscape is coming soon.

Mid 2023

Additional consultation on a new offshore renewables regulatory framework

Feedback will be sought on the construction, operation and decommissioning phases of offshore renewables development.
Part two of the offshore renewable's consultation. Will need to happen at pace if the Government will stay on course to implement the new framework by 2024.

Expected mid 2023

The Electricity Authority's Code amendment prohibiting 150MW-plus electricity contracts

With consultation closed and the Code amendment prohibiting 150MW-plus electricity contracts expiring in May 2023 the EA are set to release their decision on the Code amendment.
If a permanent Code amendment is implemented clarity on what is in and what is out of scope will be key.

Early to mid 2023

New Zealand general election

Expect both major political parties to start rolling out their election campaign policies, which will undoubtedly impact the energy space.

Mid 2023 to 14 October 2023

Development of the roadmap for hydrogen

This is to set Government objectives for hydrogen in Aotearoa and how it can assist to reduce emissions and reap positive economic benefits.
This roadmap will inform the Energy Strategy being developed.

End of 2023

Gas Transition Plan

This will set out the immediate steps on a long-term pathway to phasing out fossil gas is expected to be completed. This plan will be an input to the Energy Strategy and will explore opportunities for renewable gases and aims to ensure an equitable transition from fossil gases.
Security of supply balanced against emissions targets a key focus area for this plan.

End of 2023

Consultation on New Zealand's Energy Strategy

This is being developed to 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.
Following criticism of the timeline the Government commits to its current timetable.

Targeted consultation in 2023, with the strategy being finalised in 2024

Climate Adaptation Bill

The Climate Adaptation Bill is expected to be introduced by the end of 2023.
Guidance on the Bill is expected to be released in March – watch this space.

End of 2023

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  1. ∧ Transpower, "Connection Management Framework" (2022), page 2 – here.
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