New Zealand is an archipelago of thirty-three islands of which only two are larger than 680 square miles. The South Island is the largest at 58,384 being similar to Illinois and Georgia. The lesser North Island is about the same extent as Virginia and Ohio separately. Less than five million people inhabit New Zealand, mainly near the coast. The national Transpower utility believes this gives New Zealand battery storage ‘great potential’.
How the New Zealand Energy Mix Affects Battery Potential
Firstly, approximately 31% of the population lives in Auckland, the capital city. Secondly, a further 8.4%, 8.0%, and 4.7% live in Wellington, Christchurch, and Hamilton respectively. Finally, the remaining 48% live in smaller towns and villages. Logically, this makes large central power stations and long distribution lines expensive. Therefore there are opportunities for local power grids in many small settlements.
The Energy Minister expressed the view in the New Zealand Energy Strategy 2011 – 2021 that, “We are fortunate to be blessed with abundant energy resources – renewables, petroleum and minerals. We are a world leader in geothermal energy. Our rivers and lakes have long provided clean hydroelectricity. Our wind power resources are world class.
New Zealanders are exploring how to harness the waves, the tides, and the sun in order to generate power. The country also has an abundance of petroleum and mineral resources. This makes New Zealand’s diversified, distributed energy plan the only logical way forward.
How New Zealand Battery Storage Has Great Potential
State-owned enterprise Transpower owns the national grid, and has responsibility for distributing electricity throughout the country. In a 7 September 2017 press release it announced, “Batteries provide the greatest potential at residential, commercial and industrial sites, although benefits vary depending on where they are located.”
Transpower envisages an increasing role for homeowners deriving revenue “from providing the services that are required to operate the electricity system.” It will continue to prepare for when lower battery prices make this affordable. Hence New Zealand battery storage has great potential, Transpower says. It forecasts that battery technologies will become the “game changers in the long term”.
Preview Image: Wairakei Geothermal Power Plant
Transpower Battery Storage Press Release