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Enzed’s 2010 commercial energy trends show a steady climb for renewables

Enzed’s 2010 commercial energy trends show a steady climb for renewables
What’s been going up and down when it comes to New Zealand’s commercial energy consumption trends as of late? The New Zealand Energy Data File: 2010 Calender Year Edition, newly released by the Ministry of Economic Development, offers a mixture of results. One of the biggest trends of note is that since 1990, energy demand has, on average, grown at half the rate of GDP.

What’s been going up and down when it comes to New Zealand’s commercial energy consumption trends as of late? The New Zealand Energy Data File: 2010 Calendar Year Edition, newly released by the Ministry of Economic Development, offers a mixture of results. One of the biggest trends of note is that since 1990, energy demand has, on average, grown at half the rate of GDP. In fact since 1990, GDP has grown by over 65 percent at a much faster rate than Total Consumer energy (TCE), which grew by just over 30 percent. In 2010, New Zealand consumed approximately 4 GJ per thousand dollars of GDP. This is down from over 5 GJ per thousand dollars of GDP in 1990 and represents a 20 percent improvement in energy intensity since 1990. 

And what about coal? The Australians might rely on it heavily for their electricity generation, but here in New Zealand last year, coal used for electricity generation was the lowest since 2000. But in the meantime, our exports of the stuff increased by 16 percent in 2010. 

The data file shows good news on the biofuel front, with liquid production of biofuel up 46 percent. An estimated 7 million litres of liquid biofuel was produced in 2010, a 46 percent increase on the previous year. 

The renewable energy picture looks slightly more healthy too. Last year, 74 percent of electricity generation was derived from renewable sources—the highest renewables percentage of total electricity since 1998, according to the data file. The record setting result is put down to record high geothermal generation and good hydro in-flows. According to the latest data available from the International Energy Agency, New Zealand now places third on the global stage when it comes to share of total primary energy supply from renewable sources in OECD countries. At 83 percent, Iceland leads the way, followed by Norway with 46 percent. 

Disappointingly, the data file does not factor in other forms of renewable energy like solar because it says there is insufficient reliable data available.

When it comes to industry analysis, it’s not too surprising to learn that the sector using the most energy in 2010 was transport, taking a 38.5 percent share of the pie, followed by the industrial sector at 34.7 percent. The lowest consumer was the agricultural sector at 5.3 percent. 

You can download the full 2010 results HERE and in the meantime, here are a few more snapshots from 2010: 

  • New Zealand produced enough oil to meet half of local demand.
  • There’s been negligible growth in petrol and diesel consumption since 2005.
  • Gas production rose by 7 percent.
  • Geothermal electricity generation increased by 21 percent.
  • Electricity consumption rose 3 percent on the back of the Tiwai Point aluminum smelter returning to full production.
  • Remaining oil and gas reserves dipped by 3 percent and 4 percent respectively due to continued extraction and a downgrade of ultimate recoverable reserves for Maui.
  • New Zealand had the fifth lowest petrol price in the OECD in 2010