Project introduction

Introduction to the project

If you want to understand the technologies, resources or end-use options that New Zealand can embrace in the quest to maintain “nature’s paradise” whilst achieving economic transformation, then the EnergyScape project could interest you.

In order to support New Zealand’s quest to maintain a very high quality of life, our government planners and regulators need smart tools to help them negotiate the impacts of policies that affect the balance between energy security, environmental health, ecological wealth and economic burden.

At the behest of the New Zealand government, the Foundation for Research Science and Technology sought a research program that could address some of New Zealand’s pressing energy questions, such as:

  • What is the true extent of New Zealand’s energy resources?
  • What are the options for meeting the nation’s future energy needs?
  • How do we evaluate a complex array of potential energy pathways?
  • What investments need to be made to secure New Zealand’s energy future?
  • What will be the impact of peak oil?

Thus, New Zealand’s EnergyScape research programme considers our current state of knowledge of energy resources and systems and develops a framework for evaluating the impact of future policy and research investment. The evaluation framework is used to consider the impact of change drivers such as: economic development, risks, environmental footprint and energy security.

To obtain a more detailed understanding of key energy resource sectors, FRST also commissioned two sub-projects within EnergyScape to investigate:

  1. “Bioenergy Options” (led by Scion) – which follows the same structure set by, and links in with, the main EnergyScape programme and focuses specifically on our indigenous bioenergy resource options;
  2. “Hydrogen Options” (led by CRL Energy), - which considers how hydrogen could best play a part as a significant energy carrier in our future energy systems.

In order to maximise the breadth and depth of knowledge gained within these areas, the sub-projects were undertaken by a research consortium involving NIWA, Scion, CRL Energy, GNS Science, IRL, and their associates.
When combined, these projects will consider New Zealand’s known energy resources, evaluate preferred energy pathways and develop a reporting framework that provides consistent guidance on future energy options. Further, EnergyScape will develop a vision of New Zealand’s energy future out to 2050. It is envisaged that the tools of this research will remain “alive” and be updated as changes occur in the status of: resource discoveries, new technologies for energy recovery and end-use, climate change, and changes to ecological capacity.

To understand more about the objectives of this project, and the methodology used in its undertaking, we encourage you to read the project overview document.