On Sunday 31 January the Climate Change Commission released a draft report to Government, recommending actions to significantly reduce emissions in Aotearoa. This included proposing no new connections to natural gas or LPG after 2025 and phasing out of these gases to 2050.
This doesn't mean no gas after 2025! We will continue to deliver gas to customers after 2025. Gas appliances you purchase now to cook with and to heat your home and water will have a lifespan on average of 15-20 years, and there is plenty of gas to keep powering these.
We support the country's drive towards a carbon zero future and have confidence that innovative new zero carbon gases like hydrogen and biogas will see gas continuing to play an important role in NZ's energy mix.
It is important to remember that the proposed phase out date for natural gas in the draft report has not been approved - and that we are already looking at these new zero carbon gases (which are being trialed here now!) to help move to a lower carbon future.
Did you know around 90% of our current gas network (and 100% of new subdivisions!) is ready now to deliver zero carbon gas like hydrogen? Current gas appliances can likely take blends of these gases too.
We share our vision for future energy in tomorrow's home
Gas is part of a sustainable NZ
Gas continues to have an important role in ensuring Aotearoa has a reliable, affordable and resilient energy supply as we move to a low-emissions economy.
Exciting new gases like hydrogen and biogas will help us move to even cleaner gas energy alternatives. Zero carbon emission hydrogen gas could be delivered through our existing pipeline and there is great potential with biogas, which is generated from converting decomposing organic material like landfill or agricultural and forestry waste.
Another new technology, Carbon capture and storage (CCS), captures CO2 emissions from natural gas to stop them from entering the atmosphere.
We see these innovative technologies as an important part of Aotearoa's drive toward a carbon zero future.
1% of NZ's total greenhouse gas emissions
Collectively Kiwis use of natural gas to directly power the heating, hot water and cooking in their homes produces less than 1% of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
There are around 270,000 households and businesses enjoying the benefits of natural gas piped directly into their homes, contributing less than 1% of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions. With trials of new zero carbon gas technologies like hydrogen and biofuels the level of emissions could reduce even more on Aotearoa's path to a net zero carbon emission future.
NZ has plenty of natural gas
There’s plenty of natural gas available to power Kiwi homes and businesses well into the future.
Residential homes directly use only a very small amount of all the natural gas produced in New Zealand – less than 3.6%. The rest is used by business and industry, and you may be surprised to learn around one-third of natural gas is used to generate electricity – some of which you’ll use in your home. There is plenty of natural gas energy available to supply our residential homes, for decades to come.
We’re confident that the gas you use to power your heating, hot water and cooking appliances isn’t running out anytime soon, with appliances lasting on average 15-20 years.
Kiwi homes use only 3.6% of NZ's natural gas
Almost all the natural gas produced in NZ is used by business and industry and to generate electricity too!
Many industries like the petrochemical industry to make methanol and fertilisers, industrial heat processing including paper and pulp mills, and food and processing plants, including dairy; deliver significant economic benefits to New Zealand. They either need a reliable energy supply or to use natural gas in its raw form for processing. Using natural gas directly in your home - not indirectly through electricity generated using natural gas - you’re helping to ease some of the increasing demand on electricity and contributing to a more sustainable future.
Natural gas is used to generate electricity
It might be surprising, but when we don’t have enough electricity from renewables to meet demand.
Everyone agrees that renewable energies are great for the planet. Today, around 80% of NZ’s electricity is generated from renewables – mostly water and geothermal. At peak times, like winter, or when lake or wind levels are low, we can’t generate enough to keep up with demand. Renewable electricity can’t easily be stored, so when it’s generated, it is a ‘use it or lose it’ situation. To meet the shortfall, natural gas or coal is used to generate electricity.
The case for 100% renewable energy isn’t clear-cut. The infrastructure and investment needed to provide enough renewable electricity to meet peak demand is significant, and at times of regular demand, it would be wasted. For NZ to achieve 100% renewable energy, the amount electricity generation required would be double in order to meet the demand. The impact for Kiwi households could be an additional $225 per month1.
A balanced approach seems best - switching to greener energy options where it is practical and affordable.
1. Vivid Economics Group, 2018
Retaining options for better outcomes
Energy in NZ is a delicate balance between affordability, reliability and environmental sustainability.
Like many things in life, when it comes to our energy system, a balanced approach makes good sense. Too much focus on any one of the three key things means over compromising on the others. Generating 100% renewable energy requires a huge investment and would significantly increase energy costs to consumers. To be fully renewable, while also being affordable, risks not having enough electricity to meet demand at peak times.
The key is balance, and natural gas has an important role to play in helping reduce overall demand for electricity and keeping energy affordable for everyday Kiwis. Emerging energy technologies will also reduce, or even eliminate, net carbon emissions and provide alternative clean energy gas sources.
The beauty of energising your home with gas is that you can connect one system now and easily retrofit others in later. Gas is ready to transform as we move towards a carbon-zero future. It really is the ultimate, affordable, comfort upgrade for your family. Take your home into the future and enjoy better living.