Local government

Local government looks after the welfare of our communities by making sure energy resources are sustainably managed.

Councils have two 2 main responsibilities in this area - to lead by example by improving their own energy efficiency and generating renewable energy, and to develop policies and plans that encourage and support energy efficiency and renewable energy in their communities.


Resource Management Act 1991

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) requires local government bodies to consider energy efficiency, climate change, and renewable energy issues when they assessing resource consent applications and when preparing or changing plans.

When planning for energy efficiency and renewable energy under the RMA, councils must also consider the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (NZEECS) as it is a statutory document produced under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000. The strategy has set a target for local government to use renewable electricity for 90% of their overall usage by 2025, along with other energy efficiency objectives and targets.

RMA planning documents must also give effect to the National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation, which gives clear government direction on the benefits of renewable electricity generation.

National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation - Ministry for the Environment website

Renewable energy planning

Local government has a valuable role to play in addressing resource management issues associated with the development of renewable energy resources creating local, regional and national benefits. These include avoiding the use of finite resources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increased security of energy supply by avoiding reliance on imported fuels. Development of renewable energy resources can also have adverse effects which require management.

Understanding these benefits and adverse effects is critical to achieving sustainable management of natural and physical resources. It’s also important to understand existing use of renewable energy resources in an area along with the potential for further use.

For further information please contact your regional council or the EECA business team on business@eeca.govt.nz

Renewable energy guidelines for councils

  • Resource Management Act (RMA) [links to eeca websites]
  • National Policy Statement (NPS) for renewable electricity generation Air quality guide for wood fuels (PM10 emissions)
  • Power from the people: a guide to microgeneration
  • Off shore and off the grid: generating energy on the Department of Conservation's off shore islands
  • Domestic scale distributed generation: guidance for local government (May 2010).