New Zealand prime minister Helen Clarke has outlined plans for the country's commitment to source 90% of electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The move follows an announcement last week to establish a greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme and includes targets for a number of industry sectors with the overall aim of making the country carbon neutral.

New Zealand already sources 70% of its electricity from renewable sources, primarily hydro and geothermal power, and will continue to increase its use of renewables over the next 20 years. It is also aiming to halve per capita emissions from transport by 2040, achieve a net increase in forest area of 250,000ha, and encourage the wider use of electric vehicles.

‘Achieving those targets will move us significantly towards our vision of New Zealand becoming carbon neutral,’ said Clarke. ‘With this programme our electricity sector could reasonably be seen as carbon neutral by 2025, the rest of our stationary energy sector by 2030, and our transport sector by 2040.’

Earlier this month the prime minister announced plans for the introduction of a greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme following an APEC meeting in Australia. ‘We believe that an emissions trading scheme, which puts a price on emissions, creates the right incentives across the economy to use fuel and energy more efficiently, and to think about how we use resources and manage our land,’ said Clarke.

‘Stationary energy, which includes electricity generation, will join the scheme in 2010 … The government’s emission trading scheme has been very well received. I believe New Zealanders are ready to take responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.’