The Electricity Industry
In over 125 years of change in the electricity industry, our engineers have played a central role in New Zealand's economic and social development. Now electricity is vital to modern work, home and leisure life throughout New Zealand, from farm machinery to computers and cell phones.
New Zealand's electricity supply industry will continue to develop to meet the new challenges of climate change, smart grids that can adapt to rapidly changing customer demand response while maximising service, reliability and efficiency.
The electricity industry is also engaged in developing the next generation of engineers. People that have the breadth and diversity of technology skills and knowledge to deliver the New Zealand’s future electricity needs.
The electricity supply industry in a few key figures
New Zealand is leading at the 9th rank out of 125 countries in the Energy Trilemma Index developed by the World Energy Council. Its strongest position in the trilemma is in energy security, through a continuing diversification of the electricity mix among other key actions.
The NZ final consumer energy demand was covered in 2016 by 46% by oil, 24% by electricity and 14% by gas. Electricity consumption was mostly industrial (38%), followed by residential (31%) and commercial (24%) demand. Demand levels have been reasonably flat over the past decade.
42,590 GWh of electricity were generated in New Zealand in 2016, with a 20-year record percentage of renewable electricity generation of 84.8% (60% hydro, 17% geothermal, 5% wind). New Zealand is committed to reach a government target of 90% of electricity generation from renewable sources by 2025, and 100% by 2035.
The national grid consists of over 11,700 km of transmission lines…
- … including 610 km for the HVDC Inter-Island link, of which 38 km are submarine cables under Cook Strait
- 40,600 towers and poles
- Over 170 substations
Regional networks consists of over 152,000 km of distribution lines, 28% of which are underground.
- 30,000 distribution substations
- 187,000 distribution transformers
- 213,000 distribution switchgears
The number of switches to different retailers was at its highest in 2015, with close to 420,000 switches.
As of late 2015, 70% of all meters in New Zealand are smart meters.