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Energy data shows significant impact of earthquakes

MEDIA RELEASE 23 August 2011

First release of Christchurch specific energy data shows significant impact of earthquakes

Today the Christchurch Agency for Energy (CAfE) released the first Christchurch energy use statistics, from the Christchurch Energy Database, which show the February 2011 earthquake reduced energy consumption in the City by 8.3%, and that return to pre-earthquakes levels of energy consumption is proving to be very gradual.

CAfE is New Zealand's first regional energy agency, established to promote energy efficiency, and renewable and sustainable energy options in Christchurch. This work is particularly relevant as the rebuilding progresses.

CAfE has been established by the Christchurch City Council, and is supported by Energy and Efficiency and Conservation Authority, Environment Canterbury, Meridian Energy, Orion, and Solid Energy (Renewables Division).

The Christchurch Energy Database is available with data from January 2008 and up-to-date data will continue to be released quarterly enabling valuable and timely comparisons to be made. The energy database has been developed for CAfE by Neo Leaf Global, a consultancy specialising in the energy and infrastructure sectors. The contribution made by energy suppliers, the Ministry of Economic Development and others is highly appreciated. The database will continue to be enhanced to meet the evolving needs of Christchurch.

CAfE CEO Merv Altments says the drop in energy consumption year-on-year, since February is most pronounced with electricity (down 15%), petrol (down 8%) with lesser reductions with most other fuels. However, diesel sales were up approximately 7% since September compared to the prior equivalent period, reflecting the effort being applied to earthquake response and subsequent recovery.

The 15% decline in electricity use can be attributed to a number of factors including damage to the CBD, impacts on business across the city and the decline in residential sector. The use of electricity in June was over 16% down on the same month last year, but some of this reduction would be caused by the milder weather," said Merv Altments.

"CAfE will be advocating for smarter, renewable, more energy efficient options for rebuilding Christchurch. The reconstruction provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a city for the future with greater use of sustainable, renewable, less polluting energy used more effectively. If we don't do it now, it will definitely cost more and create uncertainty for building owners and investors, as well as increasing or duplicating costs," said Merv Altments.

Highlights of the data include:

Electricity use in Christchurch varied little from expected trends following the September earthquake but varied substantially following the February event. March to June electricity use in 2011 was 15% down on the same period in 2010.

Overall energy consumption is reasonably static but seasonal over time. Non renewable energy use over the period 2008 to 2011 is approximately 60%, mostly from petrol and diesel use in transport.

Christchurch renewable energy content varied between 38 and 40% from 2008 to 2010. The renewable energy component is highly seasonal, responding to the higher energy demands in winter.

Christchurch's total energy use reduced by 8.3% following the February earthquake.

The CAfE Christchurch Energy Database data is the first "real-time" energy data for any city in New Zealand and shows a significant reliance on fossil fuels. The figures provide a road map for energy initiatives and changes to land transport, infrastructure and other planning.

"CAfE will be working with planners, architects, power companies, building owners, Government and councils in promoting a more energy smart city that is environmentally healthier. Changes in future energy use can be monitored using the database, which will also enable CAfE to target opportunities to make more efficient use of energy and increase the proportion of renewables in the Christchurch energy mix. We all know our cities must change and CAfE will be instrumental in working with decision makers to help make it happen," said Merv Altments.

Database and tables are here: http://www.cafe.gen.nz/db




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