Programme 2021: Day One

Click on each day to view the full programme:
Monday 29 March 2021 Tuesday 30 March 2021
Conference Day One Conference Day Two


2021 brochure available to download, just click this link 

Programme | Day One 




Registration and coffee in the Downstream Expo



Breakfast | From risks to resilience

Sponsored by Jacobs

Black swan and climate risk vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning.

It’s time to think differently about the future – about how we respond to unanticipated events like COVID-19 and how we prepare for and mitigate the natural, societal and economic risks associated with climate change and other natural and human factor hazards. When individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems are resilient, they’re able to withstand, recover quickly and thrive – no matter what adversities they experience.

The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act, Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 and the Task Force for Climate Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) has placed an impetus on asset owners in New Zealand to understand climate risk and adapt to its impacts.

In this session, we will examine resilience and preparedness in the context of black swan and climate change, with a focus on investigating ‘undisclosed risks’ and the full range of short- and long-term climate risks, and a holistic approach for addressing climate change. We will provide a summary for the energy and power sector and examples from similar sectors and geographies on processes that can employed to understand, adapt and mitigate key vulnerabilities. 

Craig Clifton – Practice Leader Climate Change, Jacobs



Welcome from the Chair

Sheridan Broadbent – Director, Transpower



Mayoral welcome

A welcome to Lower Hutt from the Mayor and an update on the Council’s energy strategy and footprint across its range of Council Controlled Organisations, including Wellington Water and Urban Plus.  

Campbell Barry – Mayor, Lower Hutt


Views from the top




Leaders' panel

With 2020 being characterised by surprise government intervention, policy announcements and Covid-19, it is time to reassess the performance of the New Zealand energy industry and look to the future with the leaders of our largest asset owners.    

  • The Covid-19 effect, back to the bottom line  
  • Industry structure – sub-optimal?  
  • Retail pricing – back on the political agenda?  
  • Keeping coal in the mix at Huntly   
  • Solving the industrial heat question  
  • New generation build roadmap  
  • Managing dry year reserve and climate change effects  
  • Gas infrastructure – reinvestment risks, impact of industrial decline  

Nigel Barbour – Chief Executive, Powerco 
Guy Waipara – General Manager Generation & Natural Resources, Meridian

David Prentice – Chief Executive, Trustpower
Stuart Frazer – Director, Frazer Lindstrom

Toby Stevenson – Director, Sapere Research Group 




2021 will be a defining year with NZ’s first draft climate change budgets released. The major global economies of Europe, China, Japan and South Korea are forging ahead with net zero carbon plans with the Biden Administration expected to follow suit soon. A reflection on how we’re going as a sector in meeting our climate change aspirations and the pivotal role electrification plays.

  • How are we going as a sector?
  • Where do we need to gear up?
  • How do we solve these challenges as a sector?
  • What are the opportunities for us?

Alison Andrew – Chief Executive, Transpower



...for the long-term benefit of consumers

It has been 10 years since the Electricity Industry Participation Code came into effect and the Electricity Authority came into being. After 10 years as Chair of the Electricity Authority, one of the architects of the modern New Zealand Electricity Market (NZEM) is now leaving his influential role and passing the baton to others to continue the work.  

  • Features of a market delivering long-term benefit for electricity consumers  
  • The most important drivers of market change  
  • Successes, misfires and regrets  
  • Improving our electricity market over the next 10 years

Brent Layton



Morning break & networking within the Downstream Expo

Scheduled meetings using the Downstream Mobisite / App


Energy Security for New Zealand



Gas supply (and demand) outlook

The New Zealand energy sector is suffering from short-term fuel stress as another dry hydro sequence is being compounded by accelerated gas production decline. The result is that major buyers and users of energy are again facing pressure ahead of what is shaping to be a defining winter 2021. We review the current outlook for gas and the various upstream, midstream and downstream risks, opportunities and challenges facing the sector.

  • Where are we? Gas availability, liquidity and affordability.
  • What’s important: Reserves? Deliverability? Flexibility?
  • Around the traps: major field updates
  • Planned exploration and development work programmes
  • Toutouwai: What is it and what is it not?
  • To LNG or not to LNG?

John Kidd – Director, Head of Research, Enerlytica  



Lake Onslow (NZ Battery) – why does it matter?

In a surprising move, Cabinet allocated $30 million for the (initial) detailed investigation of possible energy storage solutions for New Zealand’s dry year electricity problem. One solution has been singled out for particular attention, the Lake Onslow pumped hydro project, and was also referenced by the Interim Climate Change Committee.

  • Nation-building/think-big versus small scale, local and distributed  
  • New Zealand energy problems this investigation can (or should) tackle  
  • The role of government in solving dry year reserve  
  • The benefits to New Zealand, and New Zealand consumers  
  • Unlocking a more sustainable future, meeting emissions targets  
  • Who should own and pay for a project like Lake Onslow 

Paul Goodeve – Chief Executive, Firstgas  
Earl Bardsley – Associate Professor, The University of Waikato
Phillippa Fox – General Manager Energy and Resource Markets, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
Kieran Devine  – Fuel Resource Manager, ECNZ during the 1992 hydro crisis and General Manager System Operations, Transpower 2002-14

John Hancock –  Director, Signature Consulting



Lunch and networking within the Downstream Expo

Scheduled meetings using the Downstream Mobisite / App


Roundtable | Implications, predictions and opportunities for the New Zealand Power Sector

Sponsored by wsp

Join a focused group discussion on the opportunities for the sector based on the Climate Change Commission's draft advice. REGISTER HERE

Dr Rowan Dixon  –  Principal Specialist - Sustainability & Resilience, WSP


Market structure and reform



Developing the New Energy Platform (NEP)  

An Internet-of-Things (IoT), machine learning and analytics solution which will help deliver more affordable, reliable and cleaner energy options to consumers. Sounds great, but how is this going to work exactly? The NEP will harness the power of data and facilitate smarter and more customer-centric decisions.  

  • Enabling tailored product and pricing solutions  
  • Better network management operations and planning  
  • Better investment decisions and improved reliability  
  • The benefits of 5-minute interval meter data processing  
  • Incentivising local, low emissions energy use, working to hit decarbonisation and transport electrification goals  

Simon Mackenzie – Chief Executive, Vector



A fit-for-future purpose market structure in New Zealand

When discussing New Zealand energy market structure there is often debate about the need for 29 electricity distribution companies, or the need to split generation and retail. Given the government’s priorities around decarbonisation and some tipping points being reached with distributed energy resources, it is timely to discuss the broader energy market structural opportunities including regulatory oversight and system operation.   

  • Effects from existing market structure issues   
  • Need for a Ministry of Energy  
  • Super regulator – merging some or all of our energy regulators  
  • Market information asymmetry and data access  
  • Ownership structures of key energy assets, incentives and outcomes

Carl Hansen – Special Advisor - Strategy, Infrastructure Commission
Luke Blincoe – Chief Executive, The Energy Collective 
Ralph Matthes – Executive Director, MEUG
Dr Nicola (Nicki) Crauford – Chairperson, Electricity Authority

Briony Bennett – Senior Policy Advisor - Energy Markets Policy, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment



Afternoon break & networking within the Downstream Expo

Scheduled meetings using the Downstream Mobisite / App


Distribution networks and new platforms



A new system operator is coming – DSO  

There is widespread acceptance we will need a Distribution System Operator (DSO) function in New Zealand, and soon. There is a small window of opportunity to get our institutional arrangements right from the start and avoid the mistakes of the past where different systems and standards are developed across different networks. An optimal outcome for the market and consumers will include non-infrastructure solutions and procuring services from non-traditional participants.     

  • Who could, and should take the lead on this?  
  • Integration with the Transmission System Operator (TSO)  
  • Evaluating the right ‘model’ for New Zealand  
  • Successful international comparators  

David Reeve – Director, Sapere Research Group



Our future with Distributed Energy Resources (DERs)

Many pundits are picking 2021 as the year when small-scale solar plus batteries reaches cost parity with grid energy (in some countries). The global amount of grid connected battery storage is predicted to grow by five times out to 2025. All the key DER trends are being mirrored in New Zealand. All the new money is focused on the network edge and behind the meter, which has the potential to attract some new faces to the New Zealand energy market who won’t be new to the investment opportunity that exists.    

  • The timing issue and developments such as the closure of Tiwai  
  • Readiness of the New Zealand market and regulatory systems   
  • The network management challenges posed, security and voltage management  
  • Contribution of DER to managing peak demand   
  • International trends in similar markets  
  • Deliverability of distributed versus grid scale solutions and outcomes  

Peter Armstrong – Chief Executive, Westpower  



International Perspective – Energy market design for post-2025  

The Energy Security Board of Australia recently published their market design paper for a post-2025 national electricity market. This is a roadmap for the challenge of market reform. Although our markets are different, the big issues are remarkably similar. The core market design initiatives are a key feature of the paper, and make for a useful test of and guide for the New Zealand energy markets, particularly.  

  • Resource adequacy mechanisms  
  • Essential system services  
  • Scheduling and ahead mechanisms  
  • Two-sided markets  
  • Distributed Energy Resource (DER) integration  
  • Transmission access reform  

Dr Kerry Schott AO – Chair, Energy Security Board of Australia



Closing remarks from the Chair



Networking Drinks within the Downstream Expo

Sponsored by Transpower



The Downstream Dinner 

Sponsored by Firstgas Group

Enjoy the best networking event of Downstream and join your peers to celebrate the milestone with some images and memorable moments from the last 10 years of Downstream.

Special guest: Hon Dr Megan Woods – Minister of Energy and Resources