Planning for marine energy in New Zealand
McLean, Lachlan John
Marine energy refers to both offshore and onshore devices that convert energy extracted from the motion of waves or from tidal currents into electricity. There are a wide variety of designs for these devices, ranging from underwater turbines that resemble windmills, to the Pelamis device which resembles a floating train. This is a relatively young industry with few deployments globally, none of which have been full scale arrays. The intention of this research has been to assess the suitability and preparedness of the New Zealand planning system for marine energy developments. To do this the following research objectives were developed: • Explore where marine energy may be developed in New Zealand • Identify which types of devices are likely to be used • Investigate the likely environmental effects of marine energy developments • Examine the legislative and policy framework that will apply to marine energy • Provide recommendations to improve planning for marine energy To address these objectives a number of key informant interviews were conducted with representatives from relevant government agencies, regional councils, and industry representatives. The data gathered from these interviews helped to identify areas that have a marine energy resource that may be developed at some point. The Regional Councils of these areas were then surveyed in order to gain a perspective on their awareness of their local resource, their awareness of the effects of marine energy devices, and of their preparedness for future resource consent applications. The key findings include that: the environmental effects of marine energy devices are not well understood, but are generally not thought to be serious; the 'first in first served' nature of the RMA may contribute to a 'land grab' as happened with aquaculture; no regional councils identified a formal method for the allocation space in the coastal marine area; information available to councils is sparse and sometimes contradictory; and that no regional council identified specific marine energy provisions in their Regional Coastal Plan. The conclusion is that while the planning system itself is reasonably sound, work needs to be done to ensure that councils are prepared for marine energy developments.
Advisor: Stephenson, Janet
Degree Name: Master of Planning
Degree Discipline: Geography
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis