Powering the future
How will new technology help us to keep the lights on when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining? How do we secure our power supply from future threat of cyber-attacks? How will the huge increase in electric vehicles and smart devices connected to our system impact supply and demand?
These are just some of the questions tackled head on by the Electricity Authority in the draft report, Opportunities and challenges to the future security and resilience of the New Zealand power system and accompanying discussion paper, released today.
Dr James Tipping, Chief Strategy Officer, says advances in consumer technology, increasing renewable generation, such as wind and solar, and reducing our reliance on fossil-fueled generation mean the power system of the future could be operated quite differently to how it is today.
"Consumer demand for electricity is forecast to increase by more than 50 percent by 2050. This will require development of a large quantity of wind and solar generation and sits alongside huge advances in new technology like electric vehicles (EVs) and chargers, smart appliances and energy storage systems like batteries.
"These technologies can be harnessed to provide services back to the power system and support the national electricity grid. This will help provide good diversity in our system, but it will also mean challenges for how we operate it.
"Factors outside the electricity system will also continue to have an impact. Climate change may increase the occurrence of extreme weather events, testing power system resilience, and the threats to operation from cyber security breaches increase every day.
"All of these factors combine to make the security and resilience of New Zealand’s power system even more important, now and into the future.
"No one can predict exactly how the power system will evolve, and there are many different views across the sector. That’s why the ElectricityAuthority, supported by Transpower, is leading a series of workshops with industry to better understand the future challenges to the security and resilience of our energy system in the face of these and other significant changes," says Dr Tipping.
Over the next few weeks, the Authority will engage with the sector to ensure all views and perspectives on the opportunities and risks are heard. Engagement will be completed by the end of December 2021 and will feed into a multi-year action plan. The draft action plan will be published for feedback in the first half of 2022.
"It’s critical we ensure the electricity system remains secure and resilient as it evolves over the coming decades. This is just the start of a collaborative work programme between the Authority, assisted by Transpower, and the wider sector to ensure all views and perspectives on the opportunities and risks are heard," says Dr Tipping.
Find out more about the Future Security and Resilience project.
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