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.

Regional strategies and plans

An energy strategy looks at the whole spectrum of energy resources and demand-side opportunities available. A number of regions have developed energy strategies.

Auckland
Contact Auckland Council (09 301 0101)

Bay of Plenty
Contact Bay Connections (0800 884 881 x8350)

Northland
Contact Enterprise Northland (09 438 5110)

Southland
Contact Venture Southland (03 211 1400)

Waikato
Contact Environment Waikato (07 859 0851)

Long-term council plans
Long term council community plans are important documents, providing a framework for direction and priorities. Councils can incorporate energy efficiency projects in these plans.

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.

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).

Regional renewable energy assessments

These assessments help councils identify what renewable energy resources they have in their area, and how to integrate this information into their planning and strategy processes. Councils can then determine the most sustainable way to manage our energy resources Read the regional renewable energy assessment for your region:

  • Hawkes Bay [PDF downloads]
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Auckland
  • Waikato
  • Canterbury
  • Taranaki
  • Tasman
  • Northland
  • Marlborough
  • Manawatu-Wanganui
  • Wellington
  • Otago
  • West Coast