Our Smart Energy Future - An Open Letter to Jacinda Ardern

There is no argument - the world must wean itself from fossil fuels. Whilst every day we are doing a little more toward kicking the carbon habit for good, we need to do much more.

That's why SEANZ has joined a long list of business leaders, iwi leaders, scientists, environmentalists, actors, musicians, health professionals and others in pledging our support for the New Zealand Government to end oil and gas exploration now, as a vital step in addressing climate change. Keep reading for more detail about why we signed the Open Letter or if you just want to add your name to the letter as well then head straight here. 

The solar revolution has been underway for some time and now with battery storage and other tech tools the smart home will help drive our electricity system toward 100% renewable energy. SEANZ and our members have been at the forefront of this transformation because we believe in a resilient energy system that provides energy independence, energy democracy, and protection of our natural environmental resources for the benefit of future generations.

While there is much to be done to bring energy independence to more kiwi households through solar and battery systems, we also need to keep innovating to bring forward a total clean energy transition. 

In May 2016, the Government set a target to increase New Zealand’s electric vehicle fleet to 64,000 by the end of 2021, to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Today we are approaching 7000 registered plug-in electric vehicles in New Zealand - simply put, we think we need to be more ambitious.

Every day in the media we see major vehicle manufacturers discovering the benefits of electric cars and announcing new models, even some of the bastions of horsepower like Porsche, Ford, and Harley Davidson - so the writing is on the wall for fossil-fueled transportation but the speed of this transition needs to be hastened. Norway already has 110,000 plug-in electric vehicles and electric cars make up 40 percent of all new registrations, so we know that when a country sets it’s mind to it change can happen quickly.

That's why SEANZ has set a target of facilitating the uptake of 35% EV’s in our country's vehicle fleet by 2035. We think this is achievable, but the road to get there has a few potholes.

EV’s represent a major challenge to our electricity distribution networks. An electric vehicle could potentially add to a home’s peak energy demand. When multiplied by a number of EV’s in one neighbourhood then the potential stress on an already stretched electricity network becomes obvious. As SEANZ member Eric Pellicer of lines company Powerco said in a recent white paper for Drive Electric “They [electricity networks] have mainly been built to deliver what we think will be needed in 10, 15, 20 years time. But electric vehicles could completely change the mix in potentially a much shorter timeframe. That’s the challenge.” SEANZ members are already at work on that challenge.

While much noise has been made around range-anxiety and the lack of public fast-charging stations, SEANZ expects that the majority of EV trips will be short hops from home to work and around town and therefore the majority of charging done at home. SEANZ members are already working hard building smart energy solutions for Kiwi households and business owners and so are at the nexus of this EV uprising.

We are smart energy specialists who supply and integrate custom solutions so home and business owners can safely and efficiently manage their home energy requirements - including EV charging. Smart charging solutions will ensure a holistic and integrated approach to on-site energy management, matching solar PV generation with battery storage, EV charging (and discharging), household demand, and the resulting flows to or from the network. The result is a smart home which can be the cornerstone of our clean energy revolution.

Beyond the home and business, SEANZ members are also electricity networks and retailers. We facilitate the uptake of new technology and their impacts on the grid, ensuring the best result for consumers, network operators and the companies with new business models that support this smart energy revolution.

That EV’s represent a massive opportunity for the country is undeniable, but one that will only be realised with bold leadership. SEANZ will continue to challenge the government and regulators to pave the way for our clean energy future.

Solar PV, battery storage, electric vehicles and energy management systems are key to kicking our fossil fuel habit. SEANZ is committed to backing these clean energy technologies, ensuring energy democracy, and unlocking the economic benefits of energy independence for all New Zealanders.

We have joined a long list of business leaders, iwi leaders, scientists, environmentalists, actors, musicians, health professionals and others in pledging our support for the New Zealand Government to end oil and gas exploration and hasten our clean energy transition. Join us and add your name here.


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