Many mature renewable technologies power our national electricity network, but we still have "dirty" electricity from coal and gas fired power plants. Electricity demand meanwhile is predicted to grow substantially as New Zealand works to de-carbonise our economy under the proposed Zero Carbon Act.

With New Zealand’s high renewable generation, reducing emissions is about "when" we use power rather than simply using less power. That is also important for getting more affordable power. To use cleaner and cheaper power, we need to know when there is plenty of wind energy in the system or Huntly is burning coal, so we can use less dirty and expensive power at these times and more of our power when it encourages further investment in renewables. And that is what BEN offers. Daily information about when electricity is cleaner, cheaper or more local that can help you use this "better" power. What’s more, we share the savings with you if you use more power at these times. Savings you can use to reduce your bills and donate to make an even better world

The challenges we face in de-carbonising are both regulatory and social, but by improving the regulatory environment we expect to see greater social acceptance of renewables as the benefits of clean green electricity are seen and experienced.

Social challenges

Habits can be hard to change. Through the Blueskin Energy Network we are helping people share power, peer to peer within our community. In doing so, residents gain a deeper understanding of our electricity network and our wider energy system and the role they can play in de-carbonising and in supporting the growth in renewables.

Regulatory challenges

In 2011, the Government put forward the National Policy Statement for Renewable Energy Generation (NPSREG) which among other things provided a framework for small-scale wind generation. At the time, there was an effort to go further than mere policy and draft a National Environmental Standard (NES) which would make some activities permissible without having regard to local and regional plans and rules. Unfortunately, there was not enough political will in 2011 to dictate an environmental outcome via an NES, so a compromise was made and the Implementation Guide for the NPSREG was drafted to go alongside the NPSREG and give local and regional authorities guidance in the implementation of the NPSREG.

We believe the compromise made in providing the Implementation Guide in lieu of an NES has proven to be a failure. If New Zealand is serious about developing a base load of wind generation, we must have an NES to overcome the inertia of the RMA consenting process and enable the development of small scale renewables.