Energy intensity

The data in this indicator is no longer being updated.

Stats NZ is developing well-being indicators, Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand - Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa, to track New Zealand’s progress. As the well-being indicators have similar aims to the NZ Progress Indicators and NZ Social Indicators, we are reviewing the future of these existing indicators.

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Positive change

The energy intensity of the economy has decreased 25 percent since 1990

  • Image, energy intensity
    • Between 1990 and 2014, real gross domestic product (GDP) has increased at a greater rate than total consumer energy. As a result, the energy intensity of the economy fell 25 percent, with less energy required for each unit of value added to the economy.
    • A structural factor contributing to the long-term reduction in energy intensity in New Zealand is the growth of service industries, which are less energy-intensive than industries such as manufacturing.  


    Note: This graph is interactive. Hover over the data points to see the exact values. Click legend text to hide or show variables.

    View source data

    The source data for this indicator is available from Energy in New Zealand 2015 on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website, and from national accounts statistics on Statistics NZ's Infoshare. Enter this table reference in the Infoshare search box: SNE153AA.

    Changes we made to the source data

    We transformed the raw data for this indicator into an index measure, so that it can reflect changes in related variables relative to a base value. The base year for this indicator is 1990.

    To create a measure of energy intensity, we divided the source data of total consumer energy by real GDP.

    Definition and measure

    The energy intensity indicator measures the relationship between the environment and economy by comparing two indicators. It determines whether our reliance on energy to generate economic growth is increasing or decreasing.

    Energy intensity compares production in the economy, as measured by real GDP, with total energy demand, as measured by total consumer energy. Energy intensity decreases when total consumer energy grows slower than real GDP. Lower energy intensity means we are less reliant on energy.

    Total consumer energy is the amount of energy consumed by final users, excluding energy used or lost in the process of transforming energy into other forms and bringing energy to final consumers. Real GDP is volume series, expressed in 1995/96 dollars, to remove the effect of price changes.

    Technical changes since 2010

    Real GDP is now expressed in 2009/10 prices instead of 1995/96 prices. Additional information about this change is available from Preview of 2014 national accounts improvements.

    The real GDP series for this indicator uses data for the December year (to match the time period of the total consumer energy measure), rather than the March year used in Key findings on New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2010.

    The start date for this indicator has changed from 1995 to 1990. This is to ensure consistency with the time period covered by the greenhouse gas intensity indicator.

    Previous publications

    Key findings on New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2010
    Measuring New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2008
    Key findings on New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2008

    Page updated December 2015

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