The Marine environment: an acceptable alternative to land for locating renewable energy generation? : a dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master in [i.e. of] Applied Science (Environmental Management) at Lincoln University

In the context of the New Zealand Energy Strategy-target of 90% electricity generation from renewable energy by the year 2025, this dissertation analyses if the generally accepted statement that socio-economic factors and in particular planning procedures and public acceptance of individual schemes are a major limitation for the development of renewable energy projects, also applies in New Zealand. Moreover, it is analysed if a relocation of renewable power generation to the coastal and marine environment, in particular in form of offshore wind farms, could circumvent this obstacle. Therefore New Zealand’s spatial planning framework on land and in the marine environment is analysed using parts of the comparative policy analysis. Furthermore, the consent processes and the public perceptions via submissions of three different case studies, two wind farms on land and a tidal power generation scheme in the marine environment are examined with a framework which is partly based on Devine-Wright (2005) and Graham et al (2009). It is ascertained that the resource consent process on land can be an obstacle in the realisation of new wind farms, mainly due to time and cost consuming procedures and strong public opposition. The relocation of projects into the marine environment does not circumvent of facilitate the consenting process, but potentially reduces public opposition if appropriate locations are chosen and their allocation is strategically provided for in the spatial planning framework. This however requires changes to the existing planning system of New Zealand’s marine environment
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