New Zealand Energy Quarterly – September 2020

The New Zealand Energy Quarterly provides quarterly data and analysis on energy supply, demand and pricing across various commodities. This edition was released on 10 December 2020.

September quarter

Main highlights for this quarter

  • September 2020 quarter covers the period when New Zealand had a new wave of COVID-19 community cases, with Auckland going into Alert Level 3 for nearly three weeks, while the rest of the country was in Alert Level 2.
  • The September quarter 2020 was dry for most of the country. Hydro lake inflows were low with South Island hydro storage falling to 62 per cent of the historical average in August[1]. Already low lake levels suffered from low inflows, resulting in a hydro generation falling 7.1 per cent to its lowest September quarter level since 2013.
  • Generation from wind was strong, reaching its highest September quarter level since the series begun. However this increase in generation from wind was not enough to offset the reduction in hydro generation.
  • This meant that there was increased reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation, with a 13 per cent rise in electricity generation from natural gas, and 39 per cent rise in electricity generation from coal. Although electricity generated from coal rose, it only contributed 6.3 per cent of total generation in the quarter.
  • As a result, the renewable share of electricity generation fell to 77 per cent, the lowest renewable share for a September quarter since 2013.
  • National electricity demand fell 1.9 per cent compared to September quarter 2019 due to reductions in industrial and commercial sector demand. Residential electricity demand remained the same.
  • Aviation fuel use for domestic transport increased by 149 per cent compared to last quarter as travel restrictions eased. However, it is 27 per cent lower compared to September quarter 2019. 

More information on the response to COVID-19 by the energy sector

For more detailed data, see the relevant page:

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[1]Trustpower Market Summary for the week ended 16 August 2020

Last updated: 11 March 2021