Planning energy supply and climate change mitigation requires a long-term perspective. Energy infrastructure takes time to build up; new energy technologies take time to develop. Policy shifts often need many years to have an effect. Any analysis that seeks to tackle energy and environmental issues therefore needs to look ahead at least half a century.
Scenarios are used to describe possible future development paths. They enable decision-makers to understand how they can shape the future energy system, and the likely consequences of their decisions.
Two different scenarios are used in this report to characterise the wide range of possible development paths for the New Zealand energy supply system: a Reference Scenario (business as usual) and the Energy Revolution Scenario:
the reference scenario is a “business as usual” scenario based on the reference scenario published by the International Energy Agency in World Energy Outlook 2004 (WEO 2004) 13 . It assumes a continuation of current economic trends and energy policies into the future. It is similar to the Base Case scenario developed by the NZ Ministry of Economic Development in its recent Energy Outlook 2030 report. 14 The Reference Scenario provides a baseline reference for comparison with the Energy Revolution Scenario.
the energy revolution scenario is a normative scenario developed in a back-casting process, which provided the pathway to calculate energy consumption and demand, based on available technology. To do this we calculated the average market growth rates of the existing renewable energy sector (combined with the best available technology) on the basis of average exchange rates (for example, people buy new fridges every 10 years). We took our global fixed target of a maximum of 11.5Gtonnes of CO 2 emissions a year by 2050 and worked backwards towards today.
The two key goals under the Energy Revolution Scenario are:
The first goal would establish New Zealand as a world leader in renewable energy, and contribute significantly to achieving an independent and secure energy system. The second goal needs to be in the range of 80 to 90 per cent to be a fair and realistic representation of New Zealand’s contribution to global efforts to stabilise the climate. This is based on a global requirement to reduce greenhouse pollution by 50 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050 and thereby stabilise global CO 2 concentrations at a level below 450 ppm.This report shows that New Zealand can achieve 72 per cent reduction in CO 2 emissions from energy by 2050.
|download the new zealand energy revolution scenario|
|(PDF document, 2.2MB)|
|download the global energy revolution - a sustainable global energy outlook|
|(PDF document, 13MB)|