Our strategy

Decarbonising New Zealand's economy

Transpower’s strategy, Transmission Tomorrow, (December 2018, pdf) is built around enabling the long-term decarbonisation of New Zealand’s economy. Transmission Tomorrow sets out how we will go about planning and the developing the transmission system as demand for electricity increases as the transport and process heat sectors are electrified, and as new renewable generation is added to the system. It also sets out our five strategic priorities to:

1.       Play an active role in enabling New Zealand’s energy future.

2.       Sustain our social license to operate.

3.       Match our infrastructure to need over time.

4.       Evolve our services to meet customers’ needs.

5.       Accelerate our organisational effectiveness.

Our blueprint for a decarbonised economy is set out in the March 2020 report, Whakamana i Te Mauri  Hiko – Empowering our Energy Future. We summarised our considerations again in July 2020 in response to industry announcements and presented our latest scenario in a four-page summary brochure (pdf, July 2020). 

There is an urgent need to decarbonise the transport and process heat sectors through electrification and to accommodate many more renewable and distributed energy resources into the system. The report builds on 2018’s Te Mauri Hiko (June 2018, pdf) report. Part one of the report looks at how the energy system might develop to drive the decarbonisation of the economy through the electrification of emissions intensive sectors with an increasingly renewable electricity system:

  1. Under the Tiwai Exit scenario, we forecast continued decarbonisation of the electricity system, from being around 85% renewable today, to around 98% renewable in 2035, moving towards being 100% renewable from then on. This will see overall demand grow by around 55% to 2050, and peak demand growth of around 28%. Meeting this will require the addition of around 25 new, grid-scale, renewable generation and battery developments to 2035 and significant investment to expand and increase the capacity and flexibility of the transmission system.
     
  2. The rapid electrification of the road transport system; seeing a projected 1.5 million electric vehicles on our roads in 2035; and,
     
  3. A concerted switch away for coal and gas use for low and medium-grade process heat through electrification, complemented by other fuels such as biomass. 

For more information on solar electricity, the decarbonisation of process heat and the future of batteries in our electricity system, see the New Technologies section below.

Given Transpower is responsible for the development and operation of New Zealand’s electricity transmission system, and the scope of change required across many sectors, we can’t do this alone. Getting there will require coordinated action by policy makers, regulators, generators, electricity distribution businesses and consumers of all sizes including industry.

As such, Whakamana i Te Mauri Hiko, details ten enabling actions including: policy and regulatory changes to both encourage and speed up investment; facilitating options for enhanced demand side participation, activities to achieve better planning and co-ordination across the energy sector and to build the required workforce. 

Resources    

Whakamana i Te Mauri Hiko,

August 2020, pdf.

Whakamana i Te Mauri Hiko,

March 2020, pdf.

See also: Whakamana i Te Mauri Hiko technical Appendix and data tables.

What Transpower is doing to enable decarbonisation

For our part, through Transmission Tomorrow, we are focused on improving how we can both enable new connections for additional, grid scale, renewable generation developments and meet growing demand associated with transport and industry electrification.

We are also working hard to facilitate the ongoing transformation of electricity transmission and distribution systems being driven by the anticipated addition of millions of distributed energy resources such as smart devices, electric vehicles and smart chargers, rooftop solar (PV) and battery systems. These developments are set to revolutionise how electricity systems grow and operate, and the way in which consumers of all sizes will be able to take control of how they use power.   

As we plan the development of the system, we are stimulating a conversation across the sector to better understand future demand and supply scenarios so that we can plan timely and cost-effective grid developments as, together, we facilitate the decarbonisation of the economy. This work is part of the continuing evolution of grid planning work as set out in our December 2018 report, Transmission Tomorrow.

Transmission Tomorrow,

December 2018, pdf

New Technologies: Solar, process heat and batteries

Developments in solar and battery technology, from grid scale down to residential installations, along with the electrification of process heat, will do much to define tomorrow’s low-carbon energy system. We have produced in-depth reports on all three topics as part of the programme of work leading to the 2020 publication of Whakamana i Te Mauri Hiko.

The sun rises on a solar energy future, January 2019, pdf.

Taking the climate heat out of process heat, July 2019, pdf.

 

 

Distributed Battery Energy Storage Systems in New Zealand, June 2019, pdf.

Distributed Energy sources, understanding the potential, September 2020, pdf.