Country Reports


There is increasing focus in NZ on the requirement for the electrification of industry and transport, and the consequent increase in electricity demand to be met from sustainable sources. Such demand is likely to be met in the short term by geothermal, wind, and solar, but ocean energy remains as a medium term prospect.

Within the private sector, EHL continue to develop the Azura Wave device, conducting a second deployment in Hawaii in 2018.






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.




Brett Beamsley of MetOcean Solutions, and Ross Vennell of the Cawthron Institute, are developing a software tool for the prediction of the physical oceanographic effects of large scale tidal current generation.

This project is due to conclude in 2019.






NZ-based Energy Hydraulics (EHL), in partnership with US-based NWEI, conducted a second deployment of the Azura Wave device at the US Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site in Hawaii during 2018. This was a continuation of the testing conducted during 2015-17, with the focus of the 2018 deployment being to test a new float/arm design, and the incorporation of a heave plate. These in-sea tests of a reduced-scale design have informed the development of a full-scale design, which has also been modelled in WEC-SIM, and tested at scale in a wave tank.



EHL and NWEI have secured a further US$4 million of grant funding from the US DOE to support the development of a full-scale commercial device. This funding is contingent on a further US$4 million of matched funding, which is currently being sought from sources including the NZ Government.