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The Decarb Challenge

One of the major challenges facing New Zealand, and indeed all countries, is the need to decarbonise our economy to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.

Getting it wrong or dithering for too long will have devastating consequences for our society, economy, country and the planet that’s home to us all.

It is a hard task that requires a delicate balance between removing fossil fuels from the economy while keeping the cost of doing so sufficiently lower so households and businesses can sustainably manage this transition.

At Contact Energy we are well-placed to support this process. Indeed, our goal is to decarbonise the energy sector, and help our C&I (and retail) customers explore ways to lower their emissions profiles. 

Our two goals work hand-in-hand. 

In New Zealand we are blessed with an abundance of renewable resources, specifically geothermal and hydro complemented to a lesser extent by wind and solar, which we use to produce electricity. As a result 85% of New Zealand electricity is generated from renewable low carbon sources. At Contact 80% of the electricity we produce comes from renewable sources, and since 2012 we’ve more than halved our own greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

Our renewable electricity generation platform can be used to substitute thermal fuels in manufacturing, such coal. We are also able to help make this transition easier by helping our customers shift to transition thermal fuels, such as natural gas, which has half the emissions profile of coal. And as the leading geothermal company in New Zealand we are increasingly exploring ways to use this clean, renewable heat directly in the manufacturing process.

Another area where we can leverage our electricity platform is in the transport sector, where electric vehicles are rapidly gaining traction in the market. The transport sector accounts for 18% of New Zealand’s GHG emissions, and along with agriculture (49% of GHGs) and manufacturing (11% of GHGs), is where the real environmental gains are to be had.


We are also well placed to advise our customers on how they can bring emerging technology into their business without taking on early adoption risk. For example, 30% of Contact’s fleet is already electric, and we are eager to share our experience in this area with customers.

Our rooftop solar and battery trials in Wellington have given us deep insight into using on-site capture and store technologies to manage electricity usage during periods of peak demand, which can be leveraged for our business customers.

We are also active in the policy space, advocating for practical legislation that will help the decarbonisation process without breaking the economy. Indeed, we’re a strong advocate for depoliticising the climate change process altogether.

Ultimately, decarbonisation is everyone’s responsibility. We at Contact firmly believe there’s a real opportunity for government agencies and businesses to innovate and work together to tackle climate change. We're keen to take on the challenge with our customers to play a key role in achieving this.

11 May 2018
2 minutes to read
By Contact Energy