Aotearoa on track for a low carbon future – for now

21 October 2021

Aotearoa on track for a low carbon future – for now

Transpower has published its six monthly monitoring report on the transformation of Aotearoa New Zealand’s energy system towards assisting the net zero carbon transition. It shows that while good progress is being made, this must be built upon.

“It’s great to see some traction towards decarbonising the energy system,” says Transpower’s General Manager Strategy and Customer, Richard Hobbs.

 “We are clearly now in the early stages of a concerted push towards a much more renewable electricity system driven by low cost wind and solar. The quadrupling of electric vehicle (EV) registrations in recent months has been headline grabbing but has come from a very low base. Good progress is also being made on process heat decarbonisation, both through electrification and biomass conversions.

“However, despite progress towards a net zero carbon future, events in the past six months remind us that decarbonisation, the sustainability leg of the energy trilemma, cannot happen without consideration of the other two legs: affordability and reliability where we have clearly had issues.”

The report is part of its Te Mauri Hiko programme of work, which includes an Electrification Roadmap for the transport and process heat sectors. It gives a snapshot of progress and scenarios on how decarbonisation might progress over time. Its publication is timely given the recent release of the government’s emissions reduction plan (ERP) discussion document


Highlights from the report include:















Moving towards a much more renewable electricity system

Transpower continues to see record enquiries for new connections of renewable electricity projects, mostly wind and solar. Over the last six months, around 683MW of new wind and geothermal has either been fully commissioned, commenced commissioning or commenced construction. 1

Tiwai’s future remains uncertain, but that, coupled with much discussion of potential new demand from data centre or hydrogen facilities, means the demand for generation additions remains robust. There is also more interest, and recent announcements, in storage technologies like batteries.


Transport electrification
Transport electrification received a major boost with the start of the Clean Car Discount policy with record registrations in July and September. These were four times the historic average. While this is a good start, what will be important is that this high rate of new electric registrations is sustained over the long term. The Clean Car Standard, which will set fleet average import standards for importers, should have a significant role to play in reducing the long-term emissions.



Decarbonising process heat
Recent announcements, many backed by the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) fund, show progress is being made towards the decarbonisation of process heat. The fund is delivering emissions reductions at a remarkably cost effective ~$9 per tonne of CO2 reduced. Biomass and electrification have been the main technologies. It is hoped that those projects already underway will help build momentum and sector capacity for further decarbonisation.  

“Overall, the outlook is a reasonable one. Some good progress is being made, but it’s essential this is not just maintained, but built upon if Aotearoa is to truly live up to its aspirations for a much more renewable energy system by 2030 and a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. It is also essential that the performance of the affordability and reliability aspects of the energy trilemma are kept at the fore of the transition to support decarbonisation. There are ample cost-effective technologies and policy options to do so and it is good to see some momentum building,” says Richard Hobbs.



For more information call Transpower Communications on 021 195 8613

Press release WiTMH Sept 2021 Mon Report FINAL.pdf [ pdf 203 KB ]

WiTMH Monitoring Report - Sept 2021- FINAL (002).pdf [ pdf 896.48 KB ]

  1. New wind and geothermal developments