Renewable electricity generation rises as gas supply constrained

Published: 14 March 2019

Despite a constrained gas supply and an increase in coal-fired generation, renewable sources made up almost 85 per cent of electricity generation in the final quarter of 2018, according to the New Zealand Energy Quarterly released today by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The latest New Zealand Energy Quarterly covers the period October-December 2018 and provides quarterly data and analysis on energy supply, demand, prices and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

“For the December 2018 quarter renewable sources accounted for 84.5 per cent of electricity generation, up from 81.9 per cent on the same quarter a year ago,” says Daniel Griffiths, MBIE Manager of Markets, Evidence and Insights.

“This was in line with the renewable figure for the previous quarter and was despite lower wind generation and higher coal generation. Gas-fired generation declined 38 per cent on the December 2017 quarter with reduced output from the Pohokura gas field while repair work was undertaken. This led to a decline in overall gas supply of 21 per cent from the same quarter a year earlier while coal-fired generation surged by 84 per cent on the comparable quarter in 2017. Wind generation for this time of year was at its lowest since 2011.

“While the jump in coal-fired generation pushed it to the highest quarterly volume since March 2015 it contributed only 6.3 per cent of the generation mix as both hydro and geothermal generation rose.

“The quarter was also noticeable for higher petrol and diesel prices compared to the same time last year. The national average price for petrol hit $2.17 per litre, up 11 per cent on the December quarter in 2017 while diesel rose by 24 per cent.”

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