New Zealand

Supporting Policies for Ocean Energy


NZ does not have a specific national strategy for ocean energy, and the over-arching energy strategies outlined in the 2017 country report for NZ remain current. These strategies support the development of diverse energy resources, and seek to increase the use of renewable energy through the de-carbonization of process heat and transport.

Within this context, the state-owned national grid operator Transpower published a report in 2018 looking at NZ’s energy future. This forecasts a doubling of NZ’s electricity demand by 2050 (relative to 2018), driven by the electrification of industry and transport. Electricity as a percentage of total delivered energy demand is therefore forecast to increase, from 25% to 60%. Marine energy is forecast to supply 5% of electricity generation by 2050, with most of the deployment forecast to occur in the 2040s.

Outwith this strategy, the most significant energy-related announcement in 2018 was a ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration. This was announced in April 2018 and passed into law in November 2018.



Market incentives for renewable electricity generation in NZ are relatively weak and are via the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme. This scheme requires all sectors of NZ’s economy to report on their emissions and, with the exception of biological emissions from agriculture, to purchase and surrender emissions units to the Government for those emissions.



NZ has a number of Government funded R&D programmes, but none specifically targeting marine energy.



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