Growth in the primary sector has been coupled with energy efficiencies, according to Statistics New Zealand.
Data from SNZ’s latest Energy Use Survey shows that overall energy use by the primary sector was almost 35,000 terajoules (TJ) in 2011 and one-third of businesses had energy saving technologies. Total energy use in this sector stayed steady in the last three years, while the sector’s contribution to gross domestic product rose nine percent.
The total energy used in the sector equates to enough diesel to make two million trips from Cape Reinga to Bluff in a medium-sized diesel car. “While this sounds like a lot, the primary sector actually uses a relatively small proportion of New Zealand’s total energy. It makes up less than 10 percent of total business energy use,” energy statistics manager Hamish Hill said.
Agriculture, the biggest industry in this sector, uses almost half the total energy. Diesel and electricity remain the main energy types. “Diesel is integral to our production of timber, livestock, and crops. This contrasts with the industrial and trade sector, which is more reliant on natural gas and other energy types, such as coal.”
This is the second time that energy use data has been collected for the primary sector. The New Zealand Energy Use Survey covers each of the primary, industrial and trade, and services sectors over a three-year period.