Auckland keeps its lights on almost entirely using energy sources outside of its region. Even the natural gas plants at Greenmount and Rosedale in south Auckland both use natural gas sourced from Taranaki. The Council’s Plan acknowledges that there is greater scope for renewable electricity generation in the form of wind, water, geothermal and biomass generation, as well as smaller-scale use of photovoltaic electricity generation from the sun, but for the most part this will be reliant on technologies still in development.
The Plan states: “All our electricity and transport fuels come in along single supply lines with no replacement routes in the event of disruption. This is not just an issue for Auckland, but also for Northland, which relies on electricity transmission through Auckland. Our supply chain is vulnerable to disruption from a range of influences including rising fuel prices, natural disasters, changing climatic conditions and the failure of the national grid.”
The response is to maintain and upgrade the current electricity supply lines to improve the system’s resilience and prepare it for these emergent technologies once they are ready to go on line. In the meantime Genesis Energy has been granted various resource consents for the establishment, construction, operation and maintenance of a gas-fired power station at Rodney to help meet growing demand and improve supply security to the upper North Island.
Clearly, Auckland will remain a long way from energy self-sufficient for a long time to come.
“Our supply chain is vulnerable to disruption from a range of influences including rising fuel prices, natural disasters, changing climatic conditions and the failure of the national grid.”