Since Jacinda Ardern became New Zealand’s prime minister in 2017, she’s emerged as one of the world’s climate leaders.
Government initiatives over the past few years have included planting 100 million trees a year, banning all future offshore oil exploration, and placing a cap on the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer in a bid to protect freshwater from agricultural pollution.
Now, the Labour party has pledged that—if elected in the upcoming October 17 elections—all energy generation in the country will be 100% renewable by 2030. This ups a previous target of phasing out all non-renewable energy by 2035.
According to a party statement, the pledge involves accelerating “the electrification of the transport and industrial sectors” and investing “in emerging technologies such as green hydrogen while continuing to make energy affordable New Zealanders.”
“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,” said Ardern.
“Investment in renewable energy is also jobs rich. Our plan will creating new jobs and develop the high skill workforce our future economy needs to thrive.”
Labour Energy Spokesperson Megan Woods added, “New Zealand produces 84 percent of its electricity from renewable sources now, but we can do better. We will stop activities that increase our emissions by, for example, banning new thermal baseload generation; and promote clean energy development.
“Our plan for clean energy and lower carbon emissions will help us seize the economic opportunities of being the clean, green country that New Zealanders see ourselves as being and that we can market ourselves as.”
The government also sees further investment in clean energy as being a means of reducing the country’s reliance on imported energy.
“We can produce some of the cleanest green hydrogen in the world,” explained Woods, “and potentially receive a premium for it in international markets.”
If New Zealand’s Labour Party wins the national election and meets its promises, the country could soon join Iceland and Paraguay in the list of nations that rely on 100% renewable sources for energy.