It's time for climate action 

Carbon emissions are out, and decarbonisation is in. 

You may have seen that recently the Climate Change Commission (CCC) released its draft advice to our Government with its recommendations for tackling climate change. Turns out, that if we keep doing what we’re doing, New Zealand isn’t going to meet its targets under the Carbon Zero Act

It’s a stark reality we’re facing. So, this is where the CCC’s draft recommendations come in. In a nutshell, Aotearoa must move into recovery mode and do some hardcore carbon cutting. Thankfully, the Government seem to be feeling pretty good about this – indicating that not only are they taking on the challenge, but based on the CCC’s advice, they can also see an achievable and affordable pathway forward.  

It means making some fairly hefty changes, largely in the transport, industry and power sectors. It’s a pretty big job and we don’t know about you, but it all seems like a bit of a mind-bender. We thought it timely to break it down because it turns out, this isn’t something we can sit on. It’s a now-problem. 

Here’s the gist of things…   

Carbon emissions are out and decarbonisation by electrification is in. Over the next decade, some of the plans are to: 

  • Significantly increase the use of renewable energy, increasing it from 40% today to 60% by 2035, and then use that to phase out fossil fuels.
  • Electrify transport in a big way. This includes private vehicles and public transport, with a subsidy or feebate scheme put in place for EVs, and by 2035, the eventual banning of petrol and diesel vehicle imports.  
  • Decarbonise process heat (think big boilers used in applications like food processing) by switching from coal to electricity or biomass.
  • Scale up forest planting with a focus on natives, to create a long-term carbon sink.   
  • Ensure there is an Equitable Transitions Strategy developed to help make these transitions inclusive and available for everyone in Aotearoa. 

Serious stuff isn’t it? On an individual level, it doesn’t feel very tangible. Day-to-day, this is what the not-so-distant future might look like…  

  • Increased availability and use of (electric) public transport options, bikes and ride sharing services. 
  • Rising fossil fuel costs, but loads more EVs in the country which will be cheaper to buy, run and maintain.
  • EV chargers will be increasingly common, both at home and out and about 
  • Industries will change focus and new career pathways will arise, moving away from fossil fuels and into greener areas of expertise.
  • Changes in farming styles with opportunities to diversify and try out regenerative farming.   
  • Native flora and fauna everywhere, including your very own backyard.  

It’s a mixed bag and there are a lot of changes to get used to. We’ve got it though, and at Meridian, we’re proud to be in a position where we can help.  

Challenge accepted 

We’re taking charge

It’s well and good to talk the talk about EVs, and when it comes to walking the walk, New Zealand is ahead of the pack. But we know that this can be daunting and for a lot of New Zealanders, EVs still seem like a concept from out of the Jetsons. In order to encourage kiwis to make the leap, we need to make EVs even more accessible. 

We’re keen to support the Government’s ambitious plans to combat climate change, and we’ve got a plan of action. Meridian is launching a nationwide EV charging network to help remove any stress or charging anxiety and help drivers feel confident in their decision to go electric

Our Chief Executive, Neal Barclay, says “We know that the electrification of transport is one of the biggest ways that we can combat climate change. But there are significant barriers to increasing the uptake, including the lack of charging infrastructure. We’re launching this nationwide EV charging network to eliminate one of those barriers”.  

“We are planning to install more than 200 chargers over the next three years to help accelerate the transition to electric transport. As a 100% renewable energy generator, we’re committed to helping Aotearoa achieve its climate change commitments and this is one way that we’re able to make a meaningful impact”, adds Barclay. 

The whole idea behind the Meridian EV charging network is to provide affordable charging stations in the places that kiwis live and play. That means places like shopping malls, retail and business parks, as well as community facilities.  

Our charging stations are for everyone and they’re easy to use. Simply pull up, plug in and pay for the time you use. Currently, we’ve got EV charging stations in Christchurch, Timaru and Hanmer Springs – check them out if you’re in the area! 

As you can tell, we’re pretty buzzed about electric vehicles. We want to make it as easy as we can for kiwis to make the switch. We’ve got an electric car plan to do just that – designed just for EV drivers, with cheaper night rates for charging. How about it? 

It’s time to get off the coal 

Clearly, decarbonisation is something we’re very passionate about. And electrifying transport is one way we can help reduce New Zealand’s carbon emissions; but it’s not the only way.  

In our commercial and industrial sectors, process heat powered by fossil fuels is the standard. We get it, it’s affordable, practical and it’s easy to get.   

But here’s the problem – fossil fuels like coal, supply more than half of process heat demand and behind transport, process heat is New Zealand’s second largest source of energy-related emissions. In fact, it contributes approximately, 9% of our gross emissions, which as the Climate Change Commission have outlined, are emissions our country can’t afford anymore.  

We reckon that it’s time to kick our fossil fuel dependence and use New Zealand’s electricity instead. Now, we know that electrified process heating has historically been pretty pricy. But we’ve come up with a plan.   

It’s our Process Heat Electrification Programme – to help make the switch from fossil fuels to electricity, an affordable, mess-free option. Did we mention it’s good for the environment?