New Zealand has set a target under the Paris Agreement to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, and to adopt increasingly more ambitious targets in the future.

The Government has asked us to deliver evidence and analysis to a proposed Climate Change Commission. Regarding electricity, the Commission will be expected to make recommendations on:

Planning for the transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2035 (which includes geothermal) in a normal hydrological year.

In addition, our Terms of Reference ask us to consider a range of other issues with regard to electricity, including: the objective of minimising emissions, security of supply and affordability for consumers, as well as consequential opportunities to reduce emissions from the energy sector.

Part of our objective is to consider opportunities to reduce emissions from the energy sector - we've considered how broadly we need to look across the energy sector to address this challenge.

We've considered what changes New Zealand needs to focus on to meet its future targets under the Paris Agreement, and clarified the deliverables in our Terms of Reference with the Minister for Climate Change, Hon James Shaw. Specifically:

  • We will deliver evidence and analysis on the likely options, costs and practicality of how New Zealand can move toward 100 percent low emission electricity by 2035. In answering this we will consider the whole of the electricity system including:

a) Technological and systemic changes in electricity supply, as well as challenges in real time reliability and grid security.

b) Changes in electricity demand. Changes across the transport system and fuel substitution in the industrial sector, to lower emissions, have the potential to fundamentally change future demand for electricity. Therefore, while the terms of reference do not explicitly mention these two sectors, we will consider possible system changes in these sectors explicitly, as far as this would influence overall electricity demand and supply. This will encompass analysis of options to accelerate electrification of those sectors.

You can find out more information on carbon emissions and energy in Our News: Key Resources.

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