On 8th August the New Zealand’s government announced that it will partner with U.S. investment giant BlackRock in its aim to become one of the first nations in the world to have its electricity grid run entirely from renewable energy.
The government announced that it is assisting BlackRock in the launch of a $1.2 billion fund to increase investments in wind and solar generation, as well as battery storage and green hydrogen. Some of the investment is expected to come from state-owned enterprises.
After damming rivers decades ago to produce hydroelectric power, New Zealand’s electricity grid already runs on about 82% renewable energy. The government has stated that it intends to achieve 100% renewable generation by the end of this decade.
The announcement comes two months before an election, and the government is hoping to bolster its environmental credentials. Critics point out that the country’s overall greenhouse gas emissions have barely changed since the government declared a symbolic climate emergency in 2020.
Prime Minister Chris Hopkins told reporters in Auckland that “This is a gamechanger for the clean-tech sector, and an example of the pragmatic and practical steps the government’s taking to accelerate climate action while actually growing our economy and creating jobs.”
Hipkins stated that the fund would enable New Zealand companies to create intellectual property that could be commercialized globally, adding that “Partnering with, and supporting, industry to solve the climate crisis is a no-brainer.”
BlackRock provided few details about the $2 billion New Zealand dollar ($1.22 billion) fund, but did state that it would initially target institutional investors. According to Andrew Landman, the head of BlackRock in Australia and New Zealand, it was the first time BlackRock had launched such an initiative. Landman told reports that ‘the level of innovation is far greater in this country than we see elsewhere in clean tech’ and that they ‘are seeing enormous visionary capabilities out of those investee companies.’
According to BlackRock, greening the grid would require a total investment of approximately US$26 billion.
BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink said on social media that “the world is looking for models of cooperation between the private and public sectors to ensure an orderly, just and fair energy transition.”
David Seymour, the leader of New Zealand’s libertarian ACT Party, said the plan would push up power prices for little environmental gain. In a statement, he said that “New Zealanders don’t want to be subject to a ‘world first’ climate change experiment that will mean the government micromanages their lives.”
Everything runs in the family in the green agenda, between governments and Blackrock being the same private corporation which owns companies like Pfizer and which is also the same corporation which is coordinating Ukraine investment for its reconstruction.