New Zealand energy scenarios: Navigating energy futures to 2050

14 Oct 2015

The BusinessNZ Energy Council, in conjunction with a wide variety of organisations – business, academia, government and non-government - has prepared two different and equally plausible scenarios of New Zealand’s energy future out to 2050. The purpose is to help us think about what our energy future might look like, and the range of trade-offs and choices we might need to make along the way as New Zealand faces rapidly changing patterns of energy use, emerging disruptive technologies and, above all, the challenge of living sustainably.

Project Partners for this report were Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland), PricewaterhouseCoopers (New Zealand) and Sapere Research Group.

The KAYAK Scenario “Kayak” symbolises characteristics that are individualistic, dynamic, volatile, autonomous, independent, unconstrained, flexible and fast-moving. In this scenario New Zealanders kayak alone, we deal with situations we have in front of us, we want to go forward efficiently and quickly, but need to go with the flow. At the heart of this scenario – markets more than government intervention, drive supply chain decisions and innovation, with business and consumers making informed decisions in their own interests based on price and quality (including environmental quality). In a Kayak future, New Zealand enjoys cheaper energy and better energy equity. This reflects relatively low carbon prices and a reliance on markets which drive energy supply towards least-cost solutions. 

The WAKA Scenario “Waka” symbolises characteristics that are for the collective greater good, interdependence, integration, co-ordination, stewardship, custodianship, harmony. We’re on a long-term Waka journey, with a goal in mind. In this scenario we work together as a team, using the great natural resources we have in New Zealand. At the heart of this scenario – due to heightened environmental awareness, business and consumers rely more on government to make decisions in the national interest, particularly to meet the country’s environmental commitments.In a Waka future, New Zealand has placed an emphasis on the environmental quality of energy supply over energy equity and energy security.

The Kayak and Waka scenarios will enable business, consumers and policymakers to consider how their decisions will be affected by each of the futures. Further, people will make their own assessments of the likelihood of each scenario. By helping people to think hard about choices and trade-offs, decision-making will become more resilient in the face of an uncertain future. The aim of the Kayak and Waka scenarios is to help business and policy makers make educated decisions that will, in turn, impact on New Zealand’s energy future. 

Publication Details
Published year only: 
Geographic Coverage