Energy in New Zealand
Despite a comparatively small population and abundant natural resources, New Zealand is a net importer of energy, in the form of petroleum products. The ratio of non-renewable and renewable energy sources has been fairly consistent from 1995 to 2005, with about 70 per cent of primary energy supply coming from hydrocarbon fuels and about 30 per cent coming from renewable sources. The proportion of non-renewable energy varies annually, depending on water flows into hydro-electricity lakes and demand for energy. In 2010, approximately 62% of primary energy was from non-renewable hydrocarbon fuels and 38% was from renewable sources. In 2007 energy consumption per capita was 120 gigajoules. Per capita energy consumption had increased 8 per cent since 1998. New Zealand uses more energy per capita than 17 of 30 OECD countries. New Zealand is one of 13 OECD countries that does not operate nuclear power stations.
From 1995 to 2009, the energy intensity of the economy per unit of GDP declined by 23 percent. A contributing factor is the growth of relatively less energy-intensive service industries.
Total primary energy is indigenous production, plus imports, less exports and international transport. Energy supply and demand in New Zealand in 2010 is dominated by hydrocarbon fuels, especially oil, most of which is used for transport.
Coal is produced from four underground and 21 opencast mines. Over 80% of New Zealand's coal reserves are contained in Southland lignite deposits. Most coal production is by Solid Energy, a government owned corporation.
Oil and gas
Oil and gas is produced from 21 petroleum licenses / permits, all in the Taranaki basin. The most important fields are Kapuni, Maui, Pohokura and Kupe. Exploration for oil and gas reserves includes the Great South Basin and offshore areas near Canterbury and Gisborne.
Approximately 35% of primary energy is from renewable energy sources. Approximately 70% of electricity comes from renewable energy, primarily hydropower and geothermal power. This is expected to increase over the next 20 years, with wind energy making up much of that increase.
|International consumption of energy
(calendar year 2008)
(tonnes per person)
(m3 per person)
(kWh per person)
Electrical energy in New Zealand is mainly derived from renewable energy sources such as from hydropower, geothermal power and increasingly wind energy. The large share of renewable energy sources makes New Zealand one of the most sustainable countries in terms of energy generation. However, electricity demand is also still growing, by an average of 2.1% per year since 1974 and 0.2% over 2004–2009.
The Ministry of Economic Development is responsible for economic issues surrounding energy use and the Ministry for the Environment addresses the environmental impact of energy use in New Zealand. Exploration and production of fossil fuels comes under Crown Minerals, a division of the Ministry of Economic Development. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority is responsible for preparing a statutory national energy efficiency and conservation strategy for approval by the administering Minister.
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- Energy and Resources page at the Ministry of Economic Development
- New Zealand Energy Strategy at the Ministry of Economic Development
- Ministry for the Environment – energy issues
- Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority
- Energywise – a consumer guide for energy conservation operated by Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority
- New Zealand Energy Sector Excellence Awards – Annual New Zealand Energy Sector Excellence Awards