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10 December 2019

Contact launches ‘demand flexibility’ as part of New Zealand’s energy transition

Energy generator and retailer Contact Energy has launched an innovative new ‘demand flexibility’ technology as part of the company’s efforts to reduce New Zealand’s reliance on fossil-fuel electricity generation, and help New Zealand meet its climate change obligations.

James Carberry, Contact’s Head of Sustainable Opportunities, said demand flexibility enables energy customers to automatically reduce power consumption from equipment such as pumps, fans and compressors when electricity demand is high.

“Demand flexibility provides a more sustainable option than ramping up electricity generation to balance the grid. This new technology enables commercial and industrial customers to be more flexible with the electricity they consume, and give the grid a helping hand. Customers get paid for participating too, so it is very much a win-win.”

Mr Carberry said that despite having a highly renewable energy system, New Zealand’s electricity grid currently requires fossil-fuel power plants to meet high demand. “Our potential new geothermal development at Tauhara is an attractive option for increasing renewable electricity generation, but we are also very keen to find other ways to reduce emissions during times of high demand.”

Farmland Foods signs up

Mr Carberry said a range of customers in the food, timber and metals production industries were using Contact’s new platform.

Bulls-based Farmland Foods was one of the first to sign up. Managing Director Eddie Davis, said signing up for demand flexibility with Contact was “a no-brainer” for the company.

“Not only are we helping to reduce emissions, we’re also saving our customers money at the till. Participating in demand flexibility aligns with our progression forward as a leading small goods producer in the meat industry in New Zealand.

“We’re excited by innovative technology and we invest heavily in new equipment to ensure that we remain at the forefront of our industry, reduce our costs and help where we can to reduce the effect our industry has on the environment.”

Wider ambitions

Mr Carberry said the investment in enabling demand flexibility was part of a strategy to enable Contact’s customers to take positive steps towards lowering carbon emissions for New Zealand.

Mr Carberry said there was also a “wider ambition” to help lead the energy sector to a low carbon future. “We’re supporting our customers to reduce emissions, but we’re also committed to reducing our own, and this year we became the first energy company in New Zealand to have our emission reduction targets approved by the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi)

“We also set ambitious new goals that put us amongst the first companies in the world to have our targets verified to the highest level of ambition for the energy industry. We’re committed to reduce emissions in line with what’s required to achieve global targets in the Paris Agreement.”


About Contact Energy 
We’re committed to a sustainable, low carbon energy future for New Zealand. To us, this means balancing our commitment to lowering carbon emissions, producing renewable energy, while maintaining reliable access to energy for our customers. We generate electricity from hydro, geothermal and gas and have one of the most flexible generation portfolios in the country.