Energy sector tackles investment challenges at Downstream 2024

Experts from the NZ energy sector have raised the alarm on massive looming investment requirements in New Zealand’s energy system. Energy Resources Aotearoa joins these experts in urging Government and industry to remove regulatory and commercial barriers standing in the way of delivering affordable and reliable energy.

Speaking at the Downstream24 conference today, representatives from Orion, BlueFloat Energy and Elemental Group, Mafic Partners, and Forsyth Barr all agreed that New Zealand needs to rapidly scale up investment in energy systems and new generation if the country is to keep the lights on while reducing emissions.

Energy Resources Aotearoa Chief Executive John Carnegie, who hosted the panel, highlighted the immense scale of investment required.

‘A recent report suggested that should New Zealand no longer use natural gas to generate electricity we will require approximately 530 MW of new generation capacity every year until 2050.

‘This is equivalent to 125 wind turbines or 1.3 million new solar panels every year.

‘Those are some seriously big numbers in an increasingly short space of time, and this simply isn’t realistic without imposing massive unnecessary costs on energy users.’

‘All options need to be on the table to ensure that new investment is cost effective and places downward pressure on prices.’

When asked about the access to capital, the panel agreed that there are a range of regulatory and commercial barriers, including ownership structures, cost of debt, pace of investment and returns, and skills retention.

Mr Carnegie says that New Zealand needs to clear away regulatory and consenting hurdles, facilitate new technologies, promote the sector, and provide for long term employment opportunities.

‘Investment will need to increase exponentially for our sector to meet demand in a secure, reliable, and affordable way. We have heard that the money is here for renewables, so the goal now is to smooth the way for investment in all forms of energy infrastructure to come forth rapidly.’