NZ Energy Scenarios TIMES-NZ – EECA + BEC

Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority

Learn how EECA (Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority), in partnership with BusinessNZ Energy Council (BEC), communicated and shared their use of a global best practice model to support businesses, government, and communities to make decisions around emissions reduction.

Problem

New Zealand needs to reduce its carbon emissions. One way to achieve this is to prioritise renewable energy across all sectors of the economy. EECA and BEC together with 60+ industry partners have developed scenarios that outline how this transition could happen between now and 2060. This was an opportunity to better communicate and share the New Zealand Energy Scenarios TIMES-NZ results to help businesses, government, and communities understand the lowest cost options for providing renewable energy across all sectors.

Solution

BEC worked in collaboration to adapt global best practice TIMES modelling methodology to update the Energy Scenarios TIMES-NZ 2.0. To help with validating input assumptions for the model, BEC facilitated an assumption working group with 60+ members from the business and government sectors, as well as academics. BEC also worked with Nicholson Consulting to visualise the results of the modelling in an interactive, user-friendly data visualisation interface. The visualisations showcase the links between energy use and climate issues to help businesses, public servants, and communities make better decisions around reducing emissions.

Observations and lessons learnt

Collaboration with the public and non-government entities

Global collaboration and adoption of best practice models

The model was developed through a tripartite agreement between EECA, BEC, and PSI in Switzerland. TIMES is a global energy systems model and PSI's expertise supported EECA to develop the model and populate it with the relevant local data.

Diverse input made for a richer model

EECA was able to get feedback and suggestions on the data input assumptions from a diverse assumptions working group of 60+ organisations including members of BEC, academics, and other government officials.

It is important to have a public discussion on the different energy directions that are possible for us in New Zealand, and for this to be supported by accessible, publicly available data.


— Tina Schirr Executive Director BusinessNZ Energy Council

Co-creation grew sector buy-in

By involving the sector in the development of the model there was an engaged audience when it was published. Organisations wanted to understand how their input contributed to the bigger picture. Together, BEC and EECA are finalists in the Sustainable Business Network Awards for Outstanding Collaboration.

Skills to innovate

Design thinking and iterative mindset

Adopting an interactive mindset ensured plausibility and feasibility of the outputs, including assessing the implications of different scenarios. The team ran hundreds of tests and sought input from the Assumptions Working Group.

This project included design thinking and co-creation to enable us to deliver an important message from our modelling on the relationship between prioritising renewable energy and emissions reduction across sectors using innovative data communication.


— Kate Kolich, Manager Evidence, Insights and Innovation EECA

Whole-of-system approach

If this model was to be applied to individual sectors, we would not be able to see how different sectors impact each other. Taking a whole-of-system approach allows us to understand the interdependence of the different energy sectors.

Focus on usability

Creating the data isn’t enough on its own. It was important to focus on usability as well. BEC worked with Nicholson Consulting to build the interactive open data visualisation app, undertaking user testing before publishing. Because the data is open, anyone can explore, download and use it. Together, BEC and EECA are finalists in the NZ Open Source Awards for Open Source in Government.

Processes and adaptability

Open information sharing

It's important to make the information accessible so more people can use and understand it. In July 2021 BEC and EECA co-hosted live online webinars of deep dive presentations on each sector in TIMES-NZ. The online webinars are available to watch on YouTube, split up by sector:

Agriculture Forestry and Fishing

Electricity Generation

Residential and Commercial

Transport

Industrial

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