Annual Report 2014
Country Reports


Craig Stevens Aotearoa Wave and Tidal Energy Association

With a population of 4.4 million people and the world’s 5th largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), New Zealand/Aotearoa is essentially a maritime nation. It also has a high proportion of renewable electricity supply already but it is highly dependent on imported transport energy. There is also limited demand for energy at present.




The NZ Government has the goal of 90% renewable electricity supply by 2025. Beyond this, the Government’s overarching goal is to grow New Zealand’s economy and deliver greater prosperity, security and opportunities for all New Zealanders. The Government has set four key priorities in this regard, with the Government’s principal
economic goal, and second key priority, being to build a more competitive and productive economy.

  • The 2011-2021 NZ Energy Strategy places priority on diverse resource development, with particular focus on adoption of new renewable energy technologies under which, inter alia, the Government has a role in encouraging the swift uptake of these technologies in New Zealand and supporting the deployment of home grown energy technologies domestically and overseas.
  • Commercialisation and deployment of marine energy will help meet the goal of 90% renewable electricity supply by 2025.
  • The Government’s foreign investment policy encourages permitted Greenfields investment.
  • New Zealand Aid Programme Strategic Plan 2012-2015 focuses on sustainable economic development in the Pacific, and a more targeted approach in Asia with renewable energy as a key enabler.

The NZ Environmental Protection Authority handle applications for marine activity offshore of the 12 nm limit under the Resource Management Act. 

A recent landmark case for resource exploitation went against the applicants serving notice on the high levels of certainty required around impacts (e.g. In shore of 12 nm exploitation applications are heard by regional authorities.

There are limited opportunities for funding specifically for marine renewable energies since the closure of the Marine Energy Deployment Fund in 2012. The energy portfolio in the Government R&D funding ministry MBIE (Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment) has in the past funded wave energy device development projects and tidal array resource and design projects. There is a current project funded by the investigator-led Marsden Fund on large array scaling and design (PI Ross Vennell, Univ. Otago).


NZ-MEC is a proposed R&D and test site off the Wellington coast. It presently sits as a business case before the MBIE (Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment). The establishment of NZ-MEC will be a catalyst to launching New Zealand’s marine energy supply chain into the fast growing global marine energy fabrication and servicing industry, creating prototypes and eventually export-oriented commercial device production opportunities for New Zealand companies.

NZ-MEC will play a key facilitation role, connecting its device developer clients and their service needs with local marine energy supply chain participants such as design engineering firms, fabricators, offshore services and equipment suppliers. Identifying and exploiting niche opportunities by NZ-MEC and New Zealand’s marine energy supply chain will be key to achieving this outcome.