Our Decarbonisation Story

We’re on a mission to lead the decarbonisation of Aotearoa New Zealand

First up, what is decarbonisation? It’s the process used to describe reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon emissions) produced by the use of fossil fuels. These being mainly oil, natural gas and coal.

Our drive for decarbonisation is simple, summed up by our CEO Mike Fuge who said “We care about the legacy we leave behind for our children and grandchildren.”

There’s growing alarm about the impact fossil fuels have on climate change, besides the fact they are non-renewable, meaning they will eventually run out. To date, New Zealand along with the rest of the world has used  fossil fuels to produce our goods, heat our homes and run our vehicles but that needs to change. And quickly.

Contact thinks a careful transition to low-carbon, renewable generation of electricity is the way forward to reduce carbon emissions for New Zealand. It’s a balancing act between making sure customers continue to get a reliable, and affordable supply of electricity along with making sure we are continuing to reduce the emissions within the electricity system as quickly as possible.

Here’s a snapshot of what Contact is doing to lead the way in decarbonisation:

  • Introducing new plans like Good Nights and Dream Charge that encourages customers to shift some of their usage to off peak times, reducing the need to fire up the less environmentally friendly power stations in order to meet demand gaps the current renewable system can’t.
  • Our Te Rapa co-generation power station will be closing in June 2023, and the gas-fired Taranaki Combined Cycle (TCC) power station by the end of 2024 after the geothermal power station at Tauhara and Te Huka are up and running.
  • As part of our leadership position, we wrote a report in November 2021 with ideas for an industry-wide solution to manage the retirement of thermal electricity generation in Aotearoa New Zealand and have been in active talks on this. Watch this space…
  • Exploring innovative new battery storage options to give more flexibility as the country transitions to renewables such as wind and solar, that can fill the gaps during periods of high demand on the grid.
  • Focussing on R&D to improve our current renewable generation. A trial at Te Huka geothermal power station starting in September 2022 will explore how we can capture naturally occurring emissions released from geothermal energy production and inject them back into the earth.

It’s exciting times. An ‘electrified’ Aotearoa where our country is powered by renewable energy without relying on fossil fuels is looking very promising for our collective future.

03 Nov 2022
2 minutes to read
By Contact Energy