Costly Oil Imports Accelerating New Zealand’s Renewables Development

Country Overview

New Zealand  is an island nation in the southwest Pacific Ocean. New Zealand has a population of approximately 5,24  million people.

In 2022, New Zealand’s economy was ranked 50th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s economy is dependent on export of concentrated milk, sheep meat, goat meat, rough wood, frozen beef, and butter.

Environmental Policies

In 2006, New Zealand enacted the New Zealand Energy Strategy which set the goal of generating 90% of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

In 2016, New Zealand signed the Paris Climate Agreement committing to a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, based on 2005 levels.

Power Generation Capabilities

In 2021, 100% of the people in New Zealand had access to electricity. In 2022, utilities used renewable energy (85.56%), natural gas (13.26%), refined petroleum (1.11%), and coal (0.07%) to generate electricity in New Zealand. Hydropower and geothermal are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in New Zealand.

Recent renewable energy projects in New Zealand include:

  • 600 MW Green Hydrogen Project – New Zealand company, Meridian Energy and Australian company Woodside Energy have formed a partnership to build the Southern Green Hydrogen project on the southwestern region of the South Island of New Zealand.
  • 400 MW Solar Project – New Zealand company, Todd Generation is continuing work on the Taupō solar project at a site approximately 200 miles northeast of the nation’s capital, Wellington. The project will be built in three stages. The Taupō solar project is forecast to be completed and commissioned in 2027.
  • 222 MW Wind Project – In December 2021, New Zealand company, Mercury Energy commissioned the Turitea wind project at a site approximately 80 miles northwest of Wellington.
  • 168 MW Geothermal Project – New Zealand utility, Contact Energy is continuing work on the Tauhara geothermal project at a site approximately 175 miles northeast of Wellington. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
  • 24 MW Hydropower Project – British company, Hydro Developments is continuing work on the Ngakawau Hydro project which is located on the Ngakawau River in the northern section of the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand.
  • 1 MW Solar Project  – In June 2021, New Zealand company, Todd Corporation commissioned Sunergise Kapuni Solar power plant at a site approximately 100 miles northwest of Wellington.


New Zealand imports oil for power generation, heating, and transportation. In 2021, the nation imported U.S. $1.75 Billion of refined petroleum and U.S. $1.72 Billion of crude oil.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to place economic sanctions on Russian imports and exports. As a result, the crude oil and natural gas prices increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.

New Zealand has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources, including hydropower, offshore wind, onshore wind, geothermal, solar, and biomass. Costly oil imports are accelerating New Zealand’s renewable energy development.


Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”



Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.

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