Te Waihanga releases report on energy infrastructure

New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga has released the latest in a series of discussion documents on key areas of New Zealand’s infrastructure, this time looking at the state of play in the energy sector.

Chief Executive Ross Copland says this is part of Te Waihanga’s work toward a 30-year strategy for infrastructure and the Commission is seeking feedback on the document.

“We’ve looked at the existing literature and talked to experts in the sector to produce this state of play, but we want to hear whether we’ve got it right or if there are issues or information that we have missed. This is an important step in building our evidence base for the infrastructure strategy. 

“By global standards, New Zealand’s energy infrastructure is performing well in balancing the competing demands of resilience, sustainability and affordability. But it has significant challenges ahead as we look to address our reliance on non-renewable energy sources to fuel industry, transport and electricity generation. 

Renewable electricity will be at the forefront of efforts to reduce New Zealand’s carbon emissions which is expected to double demand for electricity generation by 2050.

"Renewables have an important role to play in the transition of both transportation and industrial process heat which are carbon intensive at present.

“The challenges described in the state of play include how we address the risks to major energy infrastructure such as the HVDC link, the electricity transmission network, and the critical pipeline which conveys fuels from the refinery at Marsden Point to our largest city, the role of regulation, and the trade-offs we face and how to confront those. By examining the current state we are better positioned to understand how to enable appropriate energy infrastructure to support aspirations for a low carbon, low cost, highly resilient future”. 

Te Waihanga has already published a state of play on telecommunications, as well as a discussion document setting out its framework for analysing infrastructure.

Over the coming months it will share reports on the water, waste and resource recovery, transport, and social infrastructure sectors. These will inform a draft 30-year infrastructure strategy to be released for consultation in mid-2021, and then presented to the Minister for Infrastructure by September 2021.  

Read the Energy State of Play, along with information on how to have your say.