General news

Generation investment data and dashboard – now and in the future

  • Generation

We’ve created a dashboard and list of projects based on existing data

Following last month’s article on the Authority’s work improving visibility of generation investment, we’re pleased to announce that our new dashboard is now live. The dashboard summarises the data on current generation and the expected new generation from the Authority-commissioned 2022 and 2023 investment surveys. We’ve also published a list of investment projects which have been publicly announced, with information on each project’s status as used in the surveys.

The dashboard provides an opportunity to view information about generation investment in New Zealand in different ways. For example, grouping by developer type shows that the proportion of projects developed by independent investors has increased significantly. In the 2022 survey, only 1.6% of committed projects were being developed by independent New Zealand investors. In the 2023 survey, that proportion rose to 28%.

The dashboard also allows the data to be filtered by location. The majority of projects (88.9% of committed and 77.7% of actively pursued in 2023) are located in the North Island.

We have also included in the dashboard a grouping called “generation type”. This is currently a crude grouping with all hydro and thermal generation classified as “firming” generation – ie, generation that can be used flexibly to “firm” intermittent generation at times when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining. The trend chart shows the challenges that the electricity industry is facing - the vast majority of new generation will be intermittent.1 We also realise that not all of the generation we have classified as “firming” is as flexible as simply being able to be turned on at the flick of a switch. We will look at ways to improve this classification.

This is an interim solution to improve visibility of the pipeline

The creation of this dashboard is an interim measure to improve visibility of the generation pipeline, using data from the 2022 and 2023 investment surveys and public sources. However, both provide a challenge. The survey data was collected mostly by interview; which is time-consuming, limiting how frequently it can be repeated. Updating the survey data with new generation public announcements has helped ensure it is as up-to-date as possible, but some projects do not make public announcements. Additionally, the details of projects often change, especially at early stages of development, making accurate updates difficult from public sources only, as it is not always possible to tell whether a project has already been included in the dataset.

Another measure to improve visibility includes the installed distributed generation trends chart, which we have recently updated to provide more detailed distinction between fuel types. Solar generation is now displayed separately from combined solar and battery, which makes the rapid rise in the popularity of the latter clear. In April 2023, there were just 14 ICPs with combined solar and battery; by April 2024 there were 5,507.

We are working on improving our data collection of the investment pipeline

We are working to improve how we collect data on the pipeline of new developments of renewable generation and large-scale load. This will allow us to develop this dashboard to provide ongoing and increasingly sophisticated measures, including expected changes to future demand as well as supply.

This work aligns with recommendation 17 in Tranche 2 of the Market Development Advisory Group’s report Price discovery in a renewables-based electricity system, as well as builds on the 2022 and 2023 investment surveys and Transpower’s existing connection enquiry dashboard.

The additional information will help support monitoring of competitive outcomes, and constraints to investment, as well as investment confidence and information for decision-making. We are aiming for the new data collection to support more regular updates of investment project status.

Work on this project will align with new connection processes for distributed generation under the Part 6 Code review. We intend to publish a consultation paper in relation to this project in mid-2024. We will consult on what frequency and level of information we will collect and what we will publish.

  1. See the Eye on electricity article on The difference between winter peak capacity and dry year risk for more details on these challenges.
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