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The Waikato Region's Energy Sector

Waikato has the potential to be a key renewable energy-producing region, helping Aotearoa New Zealand to reach its net zero emissions targets. It has a broad range of natural and infrastructural resources that power the region’s ability to generate, store and supply energy across New Zealand and (eventually) the world.

Energy Generation in the Waikato

Waikato is New Zealand’s leading energy generation region, and home to the country’s oldest regional energy strategy. The strategy, developed by the Waikato Regional Energy Forum Trust, sought agreement from the regional community on how to ensure locals can continue to access reliable energy at affordable prices, which helps to maintain resilience and a high quality of life within the community. 

The region has considerable energy generation assets in a range of forms. Waikato is home to the majority of New Zealand’s geothermal power, as well as significant hydroelectric power stations. The Huntly Power Station is the largest thermal power station in New Zealand, powering many thousands of homes across the upper North Island. The Waikato also has significant potential to be a key renewable energy-producing region, with expertise, infrastructure and investment being harnessed to this end.  

Electricity, gas, water and waste services contribute more than $1.6 billion to the local economy each year, making up more than 5% of regional GDP. 

Why Waikato?

Waikato’s energy sector has a long history of energy generation as well as the ability to adapt to meet new clean energy requirements. As New Zealand transitions to a carbon-zero economy by 2050, it will require a mix of traditional and renewable energy sources - both of which Waikato is able to provide. 

There is significant untapped potential in Waikato’s geothermal and wind power assets. A significant offshore wind farm is currently being explored, with construction expected to begin by 2030. 

Solar energy generation is an additional area of focus, with UK-based firm Harmony Energy given approval to develop one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest solar farm – the Tauhei Solar Farm in Te Aroha. Learn more here.

As one of New Zealand’s leading regions for energy generation historically, Waikato has significant existing expertise and infrastructure that can be repurposed for new, clean energy sources. This gives the region a key advantage in the race to generate, store and supply renewable energy both within New Zealand and internationally. 

EECA - Regional Energy Transition Accelerator Event Waikato 2024
Rosie Spragg at Hiringa Energy 2023

Te Waka and Energy

Te Waka is actively involved in exploring how Waikato can meet the changing energy sector needs of the future. We partner with global leaders to support the development of the region’s renewable energy sector.  

Te Waka has partnered with BlueFloat Energy and Elemental Group Limited to transform the region’s economic performance in the energy sector. A current focus is The Waikato Offshore Wind project, which will help decarbonise the local industrial ecosystem and support the sustainable growth of energy-intensive industries. Click here to find out more.

The transformation of the Waikato energy sector has clear environmental benefits, and will also help to create hundreds of jobs within the region. This includes direct employment in the energy industry and indirectly in sectors such as construction and maintenance. 

Workforce & Training

Get in touch with the training providers below that offer specialised training for the Energy industry. Explore opportunities to upskill your staff and connect with students to build your talent pipeline.

Local Training Providers

Sector Initiatives

  • Gateway programmes are for secondary school students who want to explore job options while studying towards NCEA. They facilitate work-based learning opportunities for students, offering a vocational education pathway by providing hands-on experience in a real-world setting.

  • Smart Waikato partners with local businesses to deliver a range of practical and innovative initiatives that support rangatahi transitioning from education to employment.