New Zealand?s unique energy circumstances

Cover graphic for Te Mauri Hiko ? Energy Futures

Continuing our review of the Te Mauri Hiko ? Energy Futures White Paper produced by Transpower. Before we get into the detail there is an interesting section on why the New Zealand situation is unique in the world. It is on page 16 and is worth repeating verbatim. Quote.

New Zealand?s circumstances relating to energy and electricity are globally unique ? no other country in the world has the same energy characteristics as New Zealand.

There is a very strong incentive for New Zealand to pursue rapid electrification as the means of meeting its greenhouse gas emission obligations and moving the country as quickly as possible towards a lower carbon economy. While agriculture produces more emissions than the entire energy sector, those emissions currently appear more difficult to curtail and have less potential as means of achieving emission reductions. End quote.

If the greenhouse gas emissions nonsense is shown to be just that, then the strong incentive just melts away and energy is not the big issue apparently, it is agriculture!

If the low ‘carbon’ economy is shown to be stupid as it it actually low CO2 not low ‘carbon’ and CO2 is the plant food that drives our dairy, wine, forest, apple, kiwifruit, onion etc etc etc export economy, then we should not move towards a low CO2 economy as quickly as possible.

Since Transpower is in the electricity distribution business, it is in Transpower’s interest to electrify everything. Quote.

New Zealand also has a stronger incentive to electrify than most other countries because most generation is, and can continue to be, from non-fossil fuel sources. Many other countries lack a strong endowment of low-emission generation potential and in those countries electricity is much more likely to continue relying on generation using fossil fuels. End quote.

If only we had 4.5 windfarms per year running 24×7 at full capacity! Quote.

Where other countries will use solar matched to air conditioning to smooth seasonal peaks in electricity demand, New Zealand uses the greatest amount of electricity during winter. As solar will be significantly less effective in winter, but electrification will grow, the size of the winter supply shortage is expected to increase with the penetration of solar. New Zealand will continue to be exposed to winter and dry-year supply shortage risks because of continued reliance on existing hydro assets and the variability of solar and wind. End quote.

And that is the money quote! Our problem is in winter. We will look at that later and show the Minister Dr Woods’ suggestion that we store summer surplus for winter use is simply not going to work. Quote.

Finally, New Zealand is isolated from the rest of the world and therefore cannot rely on connection with foreign grids and collaborative load-sharing arrangements.

These unique circumstances make it clear there will be need for a customised solution to meet New Zealand?s future demand for electricity. New Zealand cannot wait for solutions to be developed and deployed overseas before importing them, and will need to be at the leading edge of energy innovation to supply winter demand, especially in dry years. New Zealand must invest resources in innovation and adopt new technologies, as related to energy development ? we do not have the luxury of time to follow the lead of others.

New Zealand?s future demand for electricity. New Zealand cannot wait for solutions to be developed and deployed overseas before importing them and will need to be near the leading edge of energy innovation to manage winter demand and dry years. New Zealand must invest resources in innovation and adopt new technologies, as it relates to energy development, because it does not have the luxury of time to follow the lead of others. End quote.

Te Mauri Hiko ? Energy Futures


Or we could simply just keep on using New Zealand’s high-quality coal and local clean-burning natural gas to solve the winter shortages. If we do not rush into electric vehicles and do not force industry to stop using fuel oil, coal and gas for boilers etc then the increased demand for electricity is manageable. quote.

It is a totally avoidable crisis, all we need to do is keep on using petrol, diesel, oil, gas and coal.

end quote.
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