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NZ energy innovation bill speeds through its third reading in parliament

Simon Bridges and Judith Collins announced new measures to support the uptake of electric vehicles and improve energy efficiency in New Zealand.

The energy innovation amendment bill, passed its third reading a few days ago.

The bill implements parts of the government’s electric vehicles programme, makes changes to the energy efficiency and conservation authority’s (EECA) levy funding, and clarifies how electricity industry legislation applies to secondary networks.

Bridges, Minister of transport says, “With 99% of transport energy coming from non-renewable sources, this bill will help reduce transport sector emissions by encouraging the uptake of electric-vehicles.

“We are already seeing an increase in EV uptake, with the highest number of EVs registered in a month during May 2017.”

“The law change means heavy electric vehicles can be exempted from road user charges, as well as this road controlling authorities will be able to make bylaws allowing EVs to use special vehicle lanes.”

The Bill also addresses secondary networks which are electricity networks indirectly connected to the national grid, such as a local distribution network.

Secondary network providers often offer the same services as those provided on a local distribution network, but may not be subject to the same obligations and requirements due to current uncertainty in legislation.

Collins, Minister of energy and resources says, “Our aim is to clear up any uncertainty for secondary network providers, to have consistent treatment across businesses who are providing a similar service to consumers.

“Clearing up this legislation is very important, as secondary networks enable innovation in the supply of electricity.”

“We want to be future focussed to allow New Zealanders to innovate with new electricity solutions.”

The bill makes a few small changes to a number of laws, but the changes will have substantial benefits.

The bill adds a transport fuels levy and a natural gas levy to the existing electricity levy, this means that the EECA will now be able to spread levy funding across more activities.

Collins continues, “We are also adjusting the way EECA recovers its levy funding, so it applies across three existing levies rather than one.

“We think there are opportunities to improve New Zealand’s energy productivity and reduce emissions by focussing on transport and industrial sectors in addition to electricity efficiency.”

This bill continues to reinforce New Zealand’s goals for a greener electricity sector.

Despite this, there is still significant concern surrounding the electricity industry’s attempts to discourage the use of solar energy.

Greenpeace continuing to speak out against large electricity companies.

You can read Greenpeace's latest statements here.

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