NZ Electricity Authority Accused Of Helping To “Kill Solar Power”

Solar power in New Zealand

It appears New Zealand’s Electricity Authority is off Greenpeace’s Xmas card list this year over its reported treatment of owners of solar power systems.

In a blistering attack on the Authority, Greenpeace NZ claims it is “not fit for purpose” and is working in cahoots with Big Energy to destroy the prospects for rooftop solar in the country.

The bee in Greenpeace’s bonnet (and many other Kiwis) is a ruling by the EA that a local electricity company charging solar households an extra fee was not in breach of any regulations.

“This is a blatant move by the EA to wash its hands of protecting and promoting renewable energy like solar so that it can continue to massage New Zealand’s electricity monopoly,” said Greenpeace climate campaigner, Simon Boxer.

“It’s no secret that the EA isn’t big a fan of solar. In the past it has even publicly advised New Zealanders not to rush into installing it. By giving the nod for Unison to penalise solar, the EA is effectively attempting to kill the uptake of solar in our near future.”

Greenpeace fears that as a result of the ruling, other electricity companies will start charging a similar fee that it says is effectively a “tax on solar”.

Mr. Boxer went as far to say that if the EA cannot serve the interests of New Zealanders, it should be dissolved.

“We must bring this electricity watchdog to heel. All burning of dirty fuels like coal, oil and gas has to stop within a few decades if we want to avoid runaway climate change. Every renewable energy option that helps this must be rolled out, and solar is a crucial part of that,” he says.

A petition established by Greenpeace last month regarding the issue has so far gathered more than 30,000 signatures.

Sustainable Electricity Association chairman Brendan Winitana said the Association was also very disappointed with the authority’s decision and that the system is broken.

Attempts have also been made to whack a sun tax on Australian owners of solar power systems in the past.

A decision in the Federal Court last year prevented a “solar tax” of sorts being applied in South Australia. A sun tax in Western Australia met a similar fate, as did an attempt in New South Wales.

With more than 1.55 million solar power systems installed throughout Australia; any future attempts would possibly be met by even greater backlash than previously.