3 Jul 2017

Fossil fuel use doubles as hydro lake levels drop

2:58 pm on 3 July 2017

New Zealand has doubled the amount of fossil fuel it uses to make electricity, new figures show.

Genesis Energy's Huntly Power Station.

Genesis Energy's Huntly Power Station. Photo: Genesis Energy

Figures from Transpower show 27.85 percent of New Zealand's electricity has been generated by burning coal or gas during the past week.

That's up from an average of 13.11 percent over the past 52 weeks.

The power is being generated mainly at Huntly, and also at Stratford, Taranaki.

Low water levels in South Island hydro lakes have meant hydro's share of generation has fallen from 65.56 percent over the past year, to 51.3 percent in the past week.

Inflows into South Island hydro lakes have been declining since March.

Transpower, which oversees the technicalities of the electricity system as well as running the national grid, has put New Zealand's electricity supply on "watch", one level above "normal', but below "alert" and "emergency".

But it has repeatedly said it does not expect the country to run out of power.

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