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).