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SEANZ welcomes engagement with Electricity Review

Change in thinking required on emerging technologies

The Sustainable Energy Association New Zealand (SEANZ) welcomes the discussion document released today by the Electricity Price Review group which includes recommendations to rationalise the electricity network and review transmission pricing.

Brendan Winitana, SEANZ Chairman says: “Kiwi households are paying the cost of an outdated and inefficient electricity market and the growing costs of distribution need to be checked.

“Although we have 41 electricity retailers we do not have a competitive electricity market. Access to other technology that provides energy independence at a lower cost is competition.

“Regulation to open access to distribution networks and allow new technologies and new business models to compete is paramount to helping lower grid operating costs and enabling lower priced electricity to all New Zealanders.

“We look forward to the coming conversation, signalled by the report today, on regulation that will ensure the smooth uptake of emerging technologies.

“The value of solar, batteries, and home energy management systems to the grid is yet to be acknowledged by the incumbent industry and this review needs to undertake to measure their contribution to improvements in building system resilience, avoided costs of transmission and distribution, emissions reductions, and demand management, as other countries and jurisdictions do.

“A truly competitive market will enable the benefits of mini and micro-grids with embedded generation and storage and market mechanisms such as peer-to-peer trading, to benefit all electricity consumers.

“The view that these emerging technologies enable social inequities is an outdated perspective designed to slow the uptake of competition in the market. This needs to change. Not only do these technologies have the potential to lower costs at a network level, new business models offered by SEANZ stakeholders provide options for any and all kiwi households, regardless of means, to enjoy lower electricity prices from solar PV and batteries today. They can be accessed at lower costs than grid power right now which removes this thinking that non-solar users are subsidising solar and battery take-up.

“These technologies have the ability to help drive our sustainable energy future - A 100% renewable, resilient, low-cost grid powering smarter homes and businesses, and our electric vehicle fleet. We just need the political will to make it happen,” says Mr Winitana.

ENDS

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