The Government's attempt to wean the country from fossil fuels, part of its strategy to cut greenhouse gasses, will change the landscape in more ways than just putting legions of wind turbines on the horizon.

There will be the losers – energy companies whose generation comes from gas, coal and oil – and the winners, those which use renewable sources of power such as hydro and geothermal. One of the early victims, state-owned generator Genesis Energy, probably welcomed the strategy through gritted teeth as its planned gas-fired power station north of Auckland now looks unlikely to get approval.

The future of its plans to import liquid natural gas also looks grim.

"The renewables are in the listed space, the gas companies aren't. This is a significant wealth movement from one play to another that may happen over a period of time," said Nigel Scott of brokers ABN Amro Craigs.

"This is not instantaneous – there are huge capital costs involved and a lot of planning, environmental court to go through." The new rules will force companies to join forces or evolve. Fewer than half the country's power companies are listed, and the Government owns over half the generation capacity. The Government is easing competition regulations preventing electricity distributors from generating power, to encourage lines companies to invest in local renewable energy projects. One lines company that has been actively pursuing opportunities is listed firm Vector, which has a 19.9 per cent stake in windfarm builder, New Zealand Windfarms. The pair and state-owned generator Mighty River Power are exploring ways of co-operating over the distribution of wind powered generation.

"Vector-NZ Windfarms-Mighty River tie-up – that's huge, that's an SOE looking to do a tie up," Mr Scott said.

"Clearly they must have some areas they're looking for work together on wind farms. It's a quantum change to where we were." NZ Windfarms recently struck a deal with electricity and gas distributor Powerco to build new transmission lines connecting its half-owned Te Rere Hau wind farm in the Tauraruas to the grid.


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