Global investment fund manager BlackRock has made its largest single-nation decarbonisation investment initiative to date, announcing plans to support New Zealand in becoming one of the world’s first countries to transition to a 100% renewable energy powered electricity grid by 2030.
Drawing on BlackRock’s global infrastructure expertise and climate infrastructure investment track record since 2012, this initiative intends to create investment opportunities in target sectors. These include wind, solar, batteries, electricity storage, electric vehicle charging, natural capital projects, green hydrogen, and the associated enabling infrastructure.
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New Zealand has an 83% renewable energy penetration rate, but transition to a 100% renewable electricity mix will require investment running to NZ$42 billion in renewable power generation and distribution, as well as battery storage, in order to manage network reliability and deliver greater energy security for all New Zealanders.
This initiative is expected to give New Zealand companies access to larger pools of capital, thereby accelerating growth and climate infrastructure build-out. The aim is also to facilitate greater transfer of knowledge and skills between New Zealand and rest of the world. This will be enhanced by BlackRock’s global knowledge and technical expertise to help grow the local market.
BlackRock chair and head of APAC Rachel Lord said, “This pioneering initiative between BlackRock and New Zealand is a powerful example of the public and private sectors joining forces to mobilise capital and help a country achieve its energy transition goals. We believe New Zealand is at the forefront of low-carbon transition, and investors will benefit from the opportunities it creates.”
BlackRock global head of equity private markets Edwin Conway said, “Transition to a low-carbon economy is top-of-mind for many of our clients. The intersection of infrastructure and sustainability represents one of the biggest opportunities in private market investments in coming years—and BlackRock is excited to be playing such a key role in New Zealand’s low-carbon transition.”
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The news follows the 2022 BlackRock’s Equity Private Markets investment—which included an initial commitment of NZD$100 million—in solarZero, a New Zealand solar energy service provider.
Based in Auckland, solarZero’s solar and battery technology platform provides the necessary back-up to help manage the overall supply of energy, as well as power grid resilience. This capability came to the fore during Cyclone Gabrielle in early 2023, when solarZero’s smart batteries supplied power to keep the lights on in homes for up to six days while off the grid.