Future Currents: Electricity Scenarios for New Zealand 2005–2050 HIA

This is a report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) that explores two different futures for electricity supply and demand in New Zealand.

The two scenarios are:

  • Fuelling the Future – assumes a small investment in energy efficiency with energy services provided by increased, largely bulk-generation capacity, ie, a ‘business as usual’ scenario.
  • Sparking New Designs – smart design is used to increase energy efficiency with a focus on energy services being provided on a small scale with emphasis on energy efficiency.

The HIA was commissioned to identify the health and wellbeing issues associated with the two scenarios. Stakeholder involvement comprised representatives of the energy sector and related organisations. The determinants of health chosen for the HIA were:

  • Housing and building (new developments, rules in district plans, building codes, energy use, and indoor air pollution).
  • Economics (individual costs for energy, what the money is spent on, and local and regional business development).
  • Social connectedness (democracy, sense of control, and pride in community).

The HIA demonstrated the greater health benefits under the smart design scenario with its stronger focus on energy efficiency and small-scale generation. These benefits are additional to improved energy security and reduction in greenhouse gases. Three of the eight recommendations from the HIA were:

  • The proposed energy strategy should include public health objectives
  • The Building Code should be strengthened for energy efficiency
  • The National ‘Energy Strategy should support small scale generation and energy efficiency initiatives. (Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, 2006).
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