Taking the lead on new ways to generate and distribute electricity
The way electricity is generated and delivered to consumers is changing to embrace more off-grid options.
The ENA organised an industry forum this month to share the challenges and lessons learned by distributors that have been leading the way.
New technologies now make it economic to provide stand-alone off-grid power supply alternatives to very remote consumers – using solar arrays, batteries and back-up generators and thereby removing the need to maintain and repair costly overhead lines and poles servicing single households.
Development of ‘microgrids’ can also allow small communities to take collective advantage of renewable generation technologies.
An example is a community housing project in Christchurch where the electricity needs of 14 residential units can be serviced by one small connection to the grid – the rest of their demand met by on-site solar generation, shared energy storage and solar-heated hot water, and heat pumps.
Lines companies are collaborating on a range of ‘non-network’ electricity solutions as part of their commitment to New Zealand’s electrification of its energy needs to meet ambitious decarbonisation goals.