Ministers Brown, Jones to speak at Downstream 2024

Downstream delegates will this year hear from new Minister for Energy Simeon Brown and new Minister for Resources Shane Jones on their priorities and aspirations for the energy industry.

The New Zealand energy sector’s leading annual conference returns to the Lower Hutt Events Centre on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 March 2024.

With a new government policy agenda focused on accelerating electrification and maintaining security, Downstream 2024 is well-timed to provide a robust platform for discussion and debate, says Freeman general manager Irwin Munro.

He expects another strong turnout following record participation last year.

“2024 feels like a watershed year, with a new government reprioritising its goals for the sector and an increasingly complex number of choices ahead of us to drive efficiency and maintain security and affordability” says Munro.

“Downstream 2024 will challenge the status quo, introduce new ideas and focus on how we can collaborate effectively to deliver better outcomes for customers.”

Insights and perspectives

Consumer Advocacy Council chair Deborah Hart kicks off the first day of the conference, offering evidence-based insights on customers' needs and wants from the changing energy landscape.

Professor Bruce Mountain, director of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre, will talk about what New Zealand can learn from the massive change in Australia’s electricity market over the past decade.

Delegates can look forward to robust panel discussion.

Energy Resources Aotearoa chief executive John Carnegie is facilitating a discussion on unlocking investment at scale, while Enerlytica director and head of research John Kidd will lead a panel on the outlook for gas in all its forms.

Clarus chief executive Paul Goodeve, Lodestone Energy managing director Gary Holden and Transpower chief executive Alison Andrew will discuss how to keep the energy transition on track. This panel also features Electricity Networks Aotearoa chief executive Tracey Kai and The Energy Collective chief executive Luke Blincoe.

Deta principal strategic advisor Roger Sutton will provide honest reflections on the Cyclone Gabrielle recovery. Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority chief executive Marcos Pelenur will talk about large-scale decarbonisation success and where to now for Aotearoa.

The future is now

Technology is changing at a rapid pace and unlocking potential for radical disruption in the sector.

This year’s speakers include technology futurist Ben Reid from Memia, who will explore the fusion of exponential technology and the energy transition.

Ara Ake will return to showcase the progress of energy sector innovation, and the benefits of demand-side flexibility will be presented and debated.

Future generation and renewable build planning is becoming more challenging due to the changing climate, something Dr Jen Purdie from the University of Otago will discuss.

This article was originally published 16 February 2024 on Energy News and has been reproduced with permission.