Top Ten Highlights of Cleantech in New Zealand

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Because of New Zealand’s location and its increasing dependence on fossil fuels and its rising costs, it has become imperative for the country to make the switch In New Zealand, solar and wind energy are poised to make significant contributions to the economy. New Zealand has an abundance of renewable energy resources, more than most other developed countries, and currently meets a majority of its energy needs by using the energy from the sun, wind, geothermal fields, woody plants (biomass), and rivers and lakes.

1) First Country in the World to Include Agriculture in Emissions Trading Scheme. In New Zealand, the agricultural sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, equaling roughly 49 percent. These emissions comes methane from livestock, nitrogen fertilizer, and nitrous oxide arising from animal excrement. Because of this New Zealand’s trading scheme covers all current agricultural sources of nitrous oxide and methane.

2) Do Business with International Partners. New Zealand poses a strong willingness to provide knowledge and do business with numerous international partners with global benefits in mind. Because of the abundance of renewable energy sources in New Zealand, it makes the country a prime candidate for international business. It is the goal of this country to work alongside others to create new technologies that will not only provide benefit for New Zealand, but also the world. International partners that come into New Zealand are provided with a host of technologies, incentives, direct research and development, and innovation.

3) Research and Innovation. An impact of the cleantech industry has been the amount of research, development, and innovation that has come out of this island nation. New Zealand has been at the forefront in many earth-shattering developments, including earthquake shock absorbers, new breeds of sheep, and splitting that atom, so it is no difference that this country is also on the cutting edge of renewable energy and energy efficiency as well. Scientists have been working on new forms of biofuels, for example. There are numerous world-class institutions looking into renewable energy in New Zealand, including institute of Environmental Science and Research, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, and Landcare Research.

4) Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart Program. To increase energy efficiency in homes across New Zealand, the Warm Up New Zealand program provides clean heating and insulation to homes. It started in July 2009, and more than 188,000 homes have been retrofitted for new insulation. It is a government funded project aimed at allowing residents to save and conserve their energy.

5) Funding for Energy Efficiency. To make it easier on businesses and homeowners to select renewable energy and energy efficiency, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority has a number of funding tactics available. They provide funding to homeowners to assist in various home improvements, including installing solar water heating systems and better heat insulation. There are numerous financial services provided to businesses to improve overall energy efficiency, including grants for energy, design and fleet audits, technology implementation, solar water heating installation, and loans for energy efficiency projects throughout the public sector.

6) International Recognition. Because of New Zealand’s work with renewable energy resources and energy efficiency, it has been asked to join the International Renewable Energy Agency. It is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the encouragement of production and usage of sources of renewable energy throughout the globe. Because of New Zealand’s widespread experience, they were courted to join in mid-2010. The Minister for Energy and Resources in New Zealand stated, “We look forward to…playing our part to achieve IRENA’s goal of accelerating the global use of renewable energy.”

7) 2025 Target is Doable. The goal of the New Zealand government is to achieve 90 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by the year 2025. This goal is probably one of the highest goals for renewable energy in the world. The government has four priority areas to achieve its energy goal – developing resources, energy efficiency, affordable and secure energy, and environmental responsibility. In order to achieve this New Zealand is focusing on areas such as embracing new energy technologies, research and development of renewable energy sources, reliable electricity supply, increased consumer information on various renewable energy choices, and an energy efficient system of transportation. The six sectors that are focused on to achieve the energy strategy goal are transportation, businesses, homes, products, electricity systems, and the public sector.

8 ) Perfect Location for Investments. New Zealand is the best location of renewable energy investments because of the large number of resources at the country’s disposal and its many improvements in the policy. The corporate ventures manager for the largest state-owned electricity generator in New Zealand, Peter Apperley, stated, “New Zealand is blessed with abundant renewable options of world class resource – high and consistent wind speeds, very hot geothermal fields, good water resources, [and]good wave potential.” Geothermal, wind, and hydropower dominate the renewable energy scene and new policies and provisions make it a lot easier for companies, both in New Zealand and internationally, to come in and invest in various renewable energy products in these fields.

9) Renewable Energy Tariffs. New Zealand has had many discussions about the inclusion of feed-in tariffs to promote the adoption of sources of renewable energy to assist in accelerating the country toward more grid parity. The feed-in tariffs would provide savings in cost, reduction of losses, and increase in the usage of renewable energy sources.

10) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. To ensure that the energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy are being utilized, New Zealand created the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. Its main focus is to guarantee the future positive impact of cleantech on New Zealand society. EECA offers businesses and homes the information, support, and tools necessary to make effective energy decisions regarding its usage. EECA works with a number of private sector firms, industry associations, government organizations, and community groups to ensure opportunities in energy efficiency and renewable energy are taken. This certifies that New Zealand’s goals of a nation run completely by renewable energy sources occur.

Article by Shawn Lesser, president and founder of Atlanta-based Sustainable World Capital, which is focused on fund-raising for private equity cleantech/sustainable funds, as well as private cleantech companies and M&A. He is also a co- founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association, and can be reached at shawn.lesser@sworldcap.com

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