Renewable electricity generation hits 26-year high
Published: 10 March 2022
The share of electricity generated from renewable sources hit a 26-year high in the final quarter of 2021 after sizeable increases hydro and wind generation, according to data published today by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The latest New Zealand Energy Quarterly covers October-December 2021, and provides quarterly data and analysis on energy supply, demand, prices and associated greenhouse gas emissions.
“The renewable share of electricity in the fourth quarter of 2021 rose to almost 91 per cent which is the highest renewable share for a quarter since 1995,” says Dr Mel Pande, Acting Manager of Markets, Evidence and Insights.
“This was more than 6 per cent higher than the previous December quarter as hydro generation rose by around 5 per cent on the back of above average rainfall in hydro catchment areas and wind generation increased by 18 per cent as new wind farms came on stream.
The strong quarter for renewables led to a sharp decline in non-renewable sources of electricity generation. Coal generation was down 72 per cent on the same period a year earlier and gas generation was down more than 28 per cent. The share of electricity generated from coal was a little over 1 per cent – the lowest for a quarter since 1997.
“While coal use for electricity generation hit a 24-year low in the quarter, coal imports in 2021 hit a new annual record of 1.85 million tonnes and amount of coal used in electricity generation was the highest since 2012. Annual gas production was also down to its lowest level since 2006 on the back of a decline in production from the Pohokura field.
“The amount of electricity generated in the quarter was 2 per cent lower than the December 2020 quarter reflecting lower demand from the industrial and commercial sectors.
“Fuel prices have been rising of late as international crude oil prices drives up prices at the pump. The price of regular 91 rose 31 per cent and diesel increased 50 per cent on the December 2020 quarter,” said Pande.
MBIE has recently added quarterly data into the New Zealand Energy Dashboard which offers a host of energy-related data insights
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