Rising Power Prices: How Tiwai Smelters’ 20-Year Deal Impacts New Zealand’s Electricity Market and Why Solar Power is the Solution

Rising Power Prices: A Call to Action for Solar Power Solutions in New Zealand

The recent extension of the Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter’s operation until 2044 is a significant development for New Zealand’s energy market. While this agreement brings economic stability to the Southland region, it also presents challenges for power prices nationwide. As New Zealanders brace for potential increases in electricity costs, now is the ideal time to consider solar power solutions.

The Tiwai Agreement and Its Impacts

Meridian Energy and New Zealand Aluminium Smelters (NZAS) have secured a fixed-price power supply contract for the next 20 years. This deal ensures that the smelter, which consumes about 13% of the country’s electricity, continues operations. The agreement includes provisions for demand response, allowing the smelter to reduce power usage during peak periods, which can help stabilize the grid​.

However, this preferential pricing and substantial energy consumption by the smelter could lead to increased power prices for residential and commercial consumers. Energy Minister Simeon Brown acknowledged that while the deal provides certainty for the electricity market, managing the growing reliance on renewable energy and its intermittency will be challenging​.


Understanding New Zealand’s Electricity Market

New Zealand’s electricity market is heavily influenced by renewable sources, primarily hydroelectric power. However, the grid’s stability can be affected by the variability of these renewable sources. The demand response agreement with the Tiwai Point smelter aims to mitigate some of these issues by using the smelter as a large-scale battery, reducing reliance on coal-fired power during peak demand.

Despite these measures, the increased electricity consumption by the smelter at lower rates can place upward pressure on power prices for other users. This scenario underscores the need for more decentralized and resilient energy solutions, such as solar power.

The Case for Solar Power

Investing in solar power offers numerous benefits for New Zealand households and businesses:

  • Cost Savings: Solar panels can significantly reduce monthly electricity bills by generating your own power.
  • Environmental Impact: Solar energy is a clean, renewable source that helps reduce reliance on fossil fuels and lowers carbon emissions.
  • Energy Independence: Solar systems provide greater control over energy costs and supply, mitigating the impact of rising power prices.
  • Increased Property Value: Properties equipped with solar panels often see an increase in market value.


At Sunshine Solar, we provide tailored solar solutions to meet diverse energy needs. Our high-quality solar panels, including monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film options, are designed to maximize efficiency and savings. With over 20 years of experience and a commitment to sustainability, we help New Zealanders transition smoothly to renewable energy.

Take Control of Your Energy Future

With power prices poised to rise due to developments like the Tiwai Point smelter agreement, now is the perfect time to consider solar power. By investing in solar energy, you can reduce your dependence on the grid, protect yourself from price hikes, and contribute to a sustainable future.


Ready to make the switch to solar?

Contact Sunshine Solar today for a personalized assessment and to explore our range of solar panel options. Let’s work together to create a more resilient and sustainable energy future for New Zealand.

You can trust the team at Sunshine Solar from planning to installation and followup.
Very happy with my setup after over a year of use. Power bill much more acceptable 🙂

Suzanne Summerfield

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