Dairying forcing up power demand

NEW ZEALAND - The national demand for electricity is growing by between 2.5 and 3 per cent a year, the equivalent of about 300 megawatts (MW), or enough to power a city the size of Dunedin for about 18 months.
calendar icon 2 January 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

By 2030, New Zealanders are predicted to be using about 40 per cent more electricity than the 36.9 million megawatt hours (MWh) they consumed in 2005.

However, estimates of demand in the dairying sector, including both dairy farms and processing operations, are outstripping that, with a 42 per cent increase on the 807,375 MWh used just to make dairy products expected by 2025, and predictions of a more than a 50 per cent rise in total demand by 2030.

Dairy giant Fonterra and its 13,000 shareholders alone buy 1.56 million MWh of electricity a year, equal to 5 per cent of the national load, making Fonterra the country's second largest power user behind Comalco's Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. Of that total, 960,000 MWh is used by its processing plants and 600,000 MWh by dairy farms.

State-owned electricity generator and retailer Meridian Energy said the dairying boom was changing South Island electricity consumption patterns significantly. Spokesman Alan Seay said massive irrigators and equipment-intensive dairy farms were big users of electricity, as was dairy processing.

Source: The Dominion Post

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