Clean Power

Published on March 31st, 2015 | by Mridul Chadha

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Wind Replaces Coal, Geothermal Overtakes Gas As Major Sources Of Power Generation In New Zealand

March 31st, 2015 by  

Renewable energy sources contributed about 80% to the total electricity generated in New Zealand in 2014, latest figures released by the government show.

According to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the share of electricity generated from renewable energy sources, like geothermal, hydro, wind, and biogas technology, was 79.9% in 2014. This is the largest share of renewable energy sources in electricity generation since 1996. In 2013, this share was 75.1%. The share of renewable energy sources in power generation has been increasing since 2009.

New Zealand Renewable Energy

Data source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Government of New Zealand

Electricity generation from renewable sources increased by 7.17% in 2014 over the generation seen in 2013. Power generation from geothermal, hydro, and wind energy projects increased in 2014 while generation from wood and biogas projects declined marginally.

Geothermal power registered the biggest increase in generation amongst all technologies — fossil fuel-based or renewable energy. With 6,847 GWh generated from geothermal power projects in 2014, it overtook natural gas-based power generation for the first time in 40 years.

Wind energy projects generated 2,187 GWh in 2014, up 9.4% from the power generated in 2013. With this significant increase, wind energy overtook coal-based power generation and became the fourth-largest source of power generation in New Zealand.

Fossil fuel-based power generation, on the other hand, declined by 18.4% between 2013 and 2014. Power generation from both gas and coal-based power plants declined by an average of 18%. Only oil and waste heat registered an increase in power generation amongst the fossil fuel category.

New Zealand has set a target to generate 90% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025.


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About the Author

currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.



  • Alan Drake

    New Zealand has some of the best wind resources in the world. The “Roaring Forties” are aptly named.

    The government has rejected over 2,000 MW of wind projects – and approved less than 700 MW. Add 2,500 MW at 42% capacity factor and you are between 90% and 100% renewable grid.

    • truelinguist

      You’re such a blowhard, they ought to harness your energy. Anything to get your sorry @ss off the internet, you annoying old poofter.

  • Coley

    Pike river ended any real future for coal in NZ, shame it had to come at such a cost.

  • Radical Ignorant

    Awesome. And there is no solar in mix, so a big opportunity to improve much further. Just wondering how much is RE as per cent of total energy market in NZ (not only electric).

  • BtotheT

    One more reason I want to end up in NZ.

    • Bob_Wallace

      That and no snakes….

      • Ronald Brakels

        See, this is why Tasmania has the edge over New Zealand. It has sheep, snow, mountains, produces more renewable electricity than it consumes, and has three species of snake. And in a surprising twist for Australia, only two of them are lethal. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming.)

      • Coley

        The kea’s will have you though;)

    • Russell

      Coming from NZ I can say that this happened with essentially zero effort and sacrifice on the part of the NZ govt and power companies, and I don’t mean that in necessarily a good way. We have it easy and make little effort, we can cruise to 90% in 2025.

      • Martin

        Or even go to 100 % by that date, it is 1o year down the road.

      • nakedChimp

        not so sure with that big piece of the cake coming from hydro.. how is NZ going if there is some El Niño?
        Last thing I heard about NZ (3-4 months back) that it was close to drought declaration in parts..?!

        • Coley

          Aye, water for the farms is becoming a serious issue.

      • Coley

        True, their Hydro is really impressive, years ahead of its time, but with very little effort they could go 100%, just on geothermal.
        Lot of methane from their cows though:)

    • Coley

      Try the west coast blackflies before making the move;)

      • BtotheT

        Sandflies eh. I’d just plant fungus near by to attract and kill them 😉

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