COVID-19 impact evident in new energy data

Published: 10 September 2020

The profound impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the energy sector has been reflected in new data contained in the New Zealand Energy Quarterly released today by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The latest New Zealand Energy Quarterly covers the period April-June 2020, most of which was when the country was at Alert Level 2 or above, and provides quarterly data and analysis on energy supply, demand, prices and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

“The impact of the restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were evident in this quarter, in particular the period at Level 4” says Daniel Griffiths, MBIE Manager of Markets, Evidence and Insights.

“National demand for electricity fell by more than 5% compared to the same quarter a year earlier with industrial and commercial demand leading the decline. With all non-essential industries and businesses closed for about a month, overall demand in these sectors fell by 13%.

“Residential demand rose 8% as workers and students remained at home and provided a small offset to the overall decline.

“Elsewhere, the restrictions on travel, both domestic and international, contributed to a 28% fall in fuel demand compared to a year earlier and the volume of fuel consumed hit a 23-year low.

“Transport was most affected with a 69% fall in international transport demand and a decrease of almost a third in domestic transport demand on the same period in 2019.

“The reduced demand was reflected in oil imports with a 62% fall in crude imports and a decline of almost a quarter of refined imports (petrol, diesel, fuel oil and aviation fuel) while output from the Marsden Point Refinery fell by more than 50%.

“The reduced demand for domestic transport fuels meant that motorists did not make the most of a 12% drop in the retail price for regular petrol and a 16% drop in the retail price for diesel.

“The share of electricity generated from renewable sources fell to 81% for the quarter as low inflows and maintenance work affected hydro generation,” says Griffiths.

Real time monitoring to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the energy sector is summarised in the Energy Factsheet.

New Zealand Energy Quarterly

Energy Factsheet

Read about electricity cost and price monitoring

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