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Summary - COVID & the NZ Energy sector

Following New Zealand entering in to Level 4 lockdown on Wednesday the 25th of March, we have seen a lot of articles covering the effects that this is having on the NZ energy sector.

The following gives a high-level summary as to the key changes we are seeing under Level 4. Feel free to comment and add in any missed details.

COVID-19 Alert Levels

New Zealand entered into Level 4 on the 25th of March 2020, for a minimum period of four weeks.


Until the 25th of March, demand was looking steady. On the 25th of March, there was a small drop, representative of much of the NZ workforce now working from home. As we are progressing, we are starting to see the demand curve resemble that of a weekend, with more commercial and industrial sites shutting down over the coming week.

Graph shows demand up until the 26th of March.


Wholesale price trends

Forward price curves

Construction Projects

Many of the major energy related construction projects have been halted during the Level 4 lockdown. Two such examples are:

Turitea wind farm

Waipipi wind farm

Large C&I Customers

Under Level 4 restrictions we will see the following large commercial and industrial plants go offline for the duration of the shutdown:


  • Paper mills - Paper mills have been deemed non essential and will need to close.
  • Steel mill - NZ Steel shutdown their plant on Wednesday the 25th of March.
  • Coal mining - only mines supplying fuel for domestic use may continue to operate.

Remaining Online:

  • Aluminium Smelter - the Tiwai point aluminium smelter will continue to run under Level 4 restrictions.
  • Methanol producers - will continue to operate under Level-4 restrictions, as well as any others who are deemed to produce essential chemicals.
  • Process heat - much of our process heat load is related to creation of milk powder. This is considered an essential service and will continue to operate.
  • Supermarkets/ hospitals/ service stations - are all considered to be essential services and will continue to operate.

NZ’s consumption breakdown


Thanks to http://www.energynews.co.nz/ for keeping us all updated.

Graphs sourced from https://www.emi.ea.govt.nz/

Daily energy reports from https://www.electricityinfo.co.nz/

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