New Zealand is a land of pioneers, especially when it comes to renewable electricity. They generate it from water, geothermal steam, wind, and solar. In fact, they're aiming for 100% renewable electricity by 2035.
New Zealand has fantastic natural energy resources. It sits between two oceans on the boundary between two tectonic plates, so it has active geology, fast rivers, high mountains and windswept plains. These elements work together to create an abundant supply of natural resources that form New Zealand's renewable energy future.
There's plenty of water in New Zealand, which is why more than half of all their electricity supply comes from hydro power schemes. The earliest was commissioned way back in 1903 so hydroelectric power has been a part of the country's energy system for over 100 years.
New Zealand is in an area long referred to by sailors as the 'Roaring Forties'. The prevailing westerly winds turn umbrellas inside-out in Wellington and powers 17 wind farms across the country. Wind contributes up to 6 per cent of New Zealand's annual electricity generation, powering about 300,000 kiwi homes a year.
The sun shines a lot in New Zealand. Nelson took out the title of New Zealand's sunshine capital in 2018 soaking up 2555 hours of the big yellow. So far solar generation makes up only a fraction of New Zealand's energy generation, but its future is bright with the cost of solar panel systems for private homes falling 75 percent over the last ten years.
New Zealand is a world leader in geothermal energy and was the first country in the world to use a liquid-dominated geothermal resource. Sure, it sounds complicated, so that's why they've been working with the rest of the world to understand, and develop their geothermal resources for over 40 years.
Since 1978 the Geothermal Institute at Auckland University has been researching, developing, testing, and training New Zealand and international geothermal industries. It's a job for good.
The Kawerau geothermal field is the world's largest, providing energy to local industry for over 50 years, and it keeps expanding. And the Mokai field provides power to Miraka, a Māori-owned New Zealand dairy-processing company. They use renewable geothermal steam to run its processing operations – a world first for the whole milk powder industry.
New Zealand contributes less than 0.2% to global emissions, and they want to get to zero carbon by 2050 to keep our world livable.
So, if you're looking for somewhere committed to changing the world and its climate for good… we know a place.