Friday, February 01, 2008

Dullards behind blackouts ahead

New Zealand's power generation is in crisis. At a time when the country faces imminent blackouts it's worth reminding ourselves that the government's latest 'energy strategy' sees the construction of reliable new coal and gas plants banned, the recommissioning of new coal and gas plants put on hold, the construction of new hydro schemes made well-nigh impossible, and almost complete reliance on near non-existent "renewables" and the fickleness of wind generation for the extra capacity so urgently needed (and even Jeanette Fitzsimons is giving up on wind power).

The threat of blackouts is the product of the extraordinarily bad energy policies followed by the governments of the last twenty years, and of the even worse strategy they intend to follow in the next ten.

The energy strategy for the next decade is endorsed by both major political parties.  It is not so much a strategy for more energy as it is an anti-industrialist's manifesto.  New Zealand's power generation is in crisis -- it's in crisis because politics has trumped prosperity, and because the country's voting public just doesn't care.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Mark said...

If we want more 'green' power we need to build more dams or go nuclear.

Those are the only two choices.

2/01/2008 01:37:00 pm  
Blogger Greg B said...

5.5 kVa generators which are appropriate for emergency domestic use are quite cheap at the moment...

2/01/2008 01:55:00 pm  
Blogger Greg B said...

...to complete the third-world look find a local petrol line, hack it open with an axe or better yet a rock, and collect the fuel to run your generator...

2/01/2008 01:57:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think NZ has a "third world" power system you need to look at some of the major incidents in the US, Aus and Western Europe. We are basically on a par. Look at South Africa or the Pacific for a 3rd World power system.

Brian Leyland has been crying blackout for quite a while, but it has not happened. so don't take them at face value. I think his solution is to massively overinvest in grid capability that may never be used, which is inefficient.

The problem with these kind of 'we're all doomed' prophecies is that the people making them are not held to account for the anxiety they cause when wrong. (that said I know Brian is genuine in his views and a very nice guy).

The energy industry is mired in politics and Brian is deeply opposed to energy policy. That has got to influence his perceptions of the depth of 'crisis'. Usually at this time of year it is the power companies talking up the risks and pocketing the resulting high prices.

The reality is teh system is coping despite all the big issues that have been chucked at it in the last few months.

Ironically today Genesis announced they aer going to push ahead with their Rodney gas power station. They are trying to make an end run around the NZES by calling it a "peaking" station rather than a baseload (even though it is over 400mw!). Great timing though, and maybe a 2 fingered salute from their outgoing CEO to Parker, but there;s no way Parker could beat them up about it given the headlines this week.

Insider

2/01/2008 02:21:00 pm  
Blogger libertyscott said...

makes Britain seem rational. The Brown administration announced a month or so ago that it would support more nuclear, and that coal/gas plants would be needed in the meantime because alternatives to both simply aren't viable on a large enough scale - and the economy needs it. This is from a country that worships climate change.

2/01/2008 08:59:00 pm  
Blogger Greg B said...

anon.

Thanks for the interesting post.

2/01/2008 10:37:00 pm  
Blogger Owen McShane said...

I believe Genesis gained some confidence from my widespread reporting of the fact that their proposed combined cycle gas powered plant would actually produce less carbon dioxide pre Kwh than the Ngawha plant which is blessed because geothermal power is renewable – even if it is nuclear.

Rodney council has certainly picked up the idea and is pushing ahead with the necessary zoning.

2/02/2008 05:35:00 pm  
Blogger Owen McShane said...

I believe Genesis gained some confidence from my widespread reporting of the fact that their proposed combined cycle gas powered plant would actually produce less carbon dioxide pre Kwh than the Ngawha plant which is blessed because geothermal power is renewable – even if it is nuclear.

Rodney council has certainly picked up the idea and is pushing ahead with the necessary zoning.

2/02/2008 05:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's hope they send you a healthy consultant's cheque Owen.

Note that there were no power cuts over the weekend despite Brian's warnings

Insider.

2/04/2008 09:20:00 am  
Blogger Wayne said...

Decouple is the key phrase: why let addled socialists control your power supply? Thin-film solar (try nanosolar for a taste of what's a'comin'), and similar techniques for distributed generation cut the present Gordian knot: too much demand, not enough supply, and no way to easily build more centralised stuff. There's a good wiki over at PESWiki. Don't moan. Think first, then act!

2/04/2008 04:08:00 pm  

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