Future electricity system pathways for New Zealand
Desert Road, russellstreet, Flickr
Eliminating fossil fuel emissions from New Zealand’s economy requires a systemic upheaval. No sector of the economy will remain untouched given our pervasive reliance on burning fossil fuel – the electricity generation sector is no exception.
The Government is currently working on its energy strategy, which will be a pivotal document given the magnitude of change ahead. To enable informed debate, decisions of this nature demand openness and transparency about the assumptions and analysis.
The Commissioner has written a note and released the results of modelling that illustrate what four different future electricity pathways might mean for New Zealand electricity consumers. The alternative pathways chosen were based on some of the options that are currently being debated: business as usual; closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter; large-scale green hydrogen production; and pumped hydroelectricity storage at Lake Onslow.
This research is not conclusive about the best way forward, but instead aims to kickstart an open debate to ensure key investment decisions made are for the long-term benefit of consumers.