Energy Intensity

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

  • 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.
Information from Stats NZ (2014)
The energy intensity of the economy has decreased 27 percent since 1990
  • Between 1990 and 2012, 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 27 percent, with less energy required for each unit of value added to the economy.
  • Both total consumer energy and real GDP rose in 2011. However, in 2012 only GDP continued to rise.
  • 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.

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.