New Zealand heads towards 90 per cent renewable generation

White Hill Wind Farm
White Hill Wind Farm

Transpower said recent levels of renewable generation on the power system has been around 90 per cent – a positive step towards achieving the government’s target of 90 per cent renewable generation by 2025.

An upward trend in the use of renewable generation had been seen this year largely due to favourable hydrological conditions, recent grid and generation investment and the decommissioning of Southdown and Otahuhu thermal plants at the end of 2015.

Transpower chief executive Alison Andrew said the percentage of renewable generation being used on the power system had been 90 per cent or higher for each month since February this year.

“New Zealand is extremely fortunate to have a large amount of renewable energy at its disposal – both in natural resources as well as in past investments made in large hydro plant, wind and more recent investments in new geothermal plant,” she said.

“These generation investments, coupled with large investments on the transmission system over the last five years, mean that greater volumes of renewable generation is able to be transported to the Upper North Island where demand is the greatest.

“This year we have seen good hydrology conditions which has meant an abundance of lower cost, hydro generation being transferred from south to north. The hydro lakes are sitting around 140 per cent of average for this time of year.”

The HVDC link (the link that runs under the Cook Strait between the islands) has predominantly been operating in a northwards direction seeing on average around 75GWH (equivalent to around 350,000 households) per week of hydro generation north.

“There are very few countries that can boast over 90 per cent renewable generation. New Zealand should feel proud that as a country, we can run such a green power system and have a continued commitment to do so,” she said.