Renewable Energy Zones

Region Map
New Zealand will need
68%
more electricity by 2050
New Zealand has potentially
11GW
of new renewable generation to build
Could a
REZ
help enable access to this generation?

What’s underway? 

Transpower is considering the concept of Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) and a potential pilot project in Northland. 

A Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) is a way of connecting new renewable electricity generation and major electricity users to the electricity network and can quickly increase renewable energy supply and its use.  

There is around 11GW of wind and solar generation that investors may consider building in the next 30 years. Around 5GW of this generation is in regions where currently, high connection costs or the first mover disadvantage could inhibit investment. REZs could enable access to this generation. 

In Northland, based on current connection enquiries there is potentially up to 2GW of new renewable generation that could be built – enough renewable electricity to power up to 375,000 households. However, current infrastructure wouldn’t allow that new electricity to be carried to where it is needed. 

The consultation documents highlight both potential benefits and challenges to setting up a REZ including social, economic, environmental and regulatory considerations. They explore options for creating Renewable Energy Zones that sit alongside, and align with, regulatory settings including the Transmission Pricing Methodology (TPM).

Consultation - consideration of submissions 

Transpower is keen to work collaboratively to explore and potentially enable this kind of infrastructure investment. There are many regions in New Zealand where a REZ could be suitable. To test the concept, we’ve worked with Top Energy and Northpower – Northland’s electricity distribution businesses – to propose an initial pilot REZ in Northland. 

We want to understand whether this is a path New Zealand should pursue, and we also want to understand who the potential collaborators on REZs in New Zealand could be. 

Consultation on the concept nationally and the Northland Pilot ran from 28 February - 8 April 2022. Transpower thanks those who submitted - your feedback and a summary of the submissions has been published. Transpower is now working to consider the points raised before making a decision on whether and how to proceed with a REZ in New Zealand.

Consultation documents (consultation now closed)

To reach the project team email REZ@transpower.co.nz 

Recording of the REZ National Consultation webinar, 8 March 2022

 

What’s next? 

Transpower appreciates the many responses to the consultation, which ran from 28 February to 8 April 2022. Feedback is currently being reviewed.

An indicative timeline for the process to consider REZs in New Zealand is outlined below: 
  • May 2022 Feedback summary provided on Transpower website 
  • Q3 2022 Announcement of confirmed next steps, and a decision on whether to proceed with a Renewable Energy Zone framework and pilot for New Zealand 
  • 2022/2023 Call for Expressions of Interest 
  • 2023 Confirmation of technical solution and high level costs 
  • 2023 Invitation of parties to tender (before this point, parties who wish to tender would also carry out their own community engagement and environmental consideration) 
  • 2023 Discussions with interested parties 
  • 2024 Construction starts