September 24 (Renewables Now) - Renewable power plants were responsible for 85.1% of New Zealand’s second-quarter power generation, the highest share since 1981, official data shows.
The renewables share is up from 79% in the second quarter of 2017 and from 81.2% in January-March 2018, according to government statistics released last week. The output of the country’s renewable energy facilities came at 11,046 GWh, up from 10,881 GWh a year earlier. The increase was fuelled by the favourable hydro and wind conditions in the three months and came in spite of the fact that national electricity demand remained unchanged on a yearly basis, the government sad in its latest New Zealand Energy Quarterly update.
Meanwhile, production from non-renewable energy sources dropped by 27% year-on-year as gas and coal-fired generation declined.
Wind farms generated 560 GWh in the reporting period for a 11.9% rise from a year earlier. Hydropower generation climbed by 12.9% to 6,843 GWh and was the top renewables source, followed by geothermal with 1,841 GWh and gas with 1,340 GWh. Solar power generation was only 23 GWh.
James Hogan, the manager of energy and building trends of New Zealand’s ministry of business, innovation and employment (MBIE), noted that the quarter coincided with the planned shutdown of the Marsden Point oil refinery in the Northland region and the lower output from the Pohokura gas field.