Will well-being pay for the Captain’s Call?

Why should New Zealand be bound by the laws of physics or the results of arithmetical calculations? Such constraints are sooo last century. Isn’t a sprinkling of fairy dust and a feeling of well-being so much more to be desired while sitting in a cloud of virtue signalling smug?

Fortunately, there are those that dig into the official reports and crunch the numbers so that the rest of us can easily understand the folly of the ban on oil and gas exploration in New Zealand.

Europe has been on this journey for many more years than New Zealand and so has some real data to look at.


After 10 years of running these weather dependent ‘green’ renewable sources the resulting capacity factors in Europe are pretty dismal. The capacity factor is the amount of energy actually delivered over time from an installation, compared to the maximum name-plate rating of that facility.

But the more important metric is the cost of all this green smug saving the planet nonsense.


The last line is the takeaway number: Green virtue signalling renewable power generation costs 10.2 times as much to build and 10.7 times as much to run as gas-fired generation.

As has been said many times, New Zealand will not have nuclear, the greens will not allow more hydro dams and now we can see that wind/solar will increase the cost of electricity by 10 times.

Just think of your well-being as you pay $3.00/kWh for your electricity instead of the current 30c/kWh.

Importantly these indicative values do not account for the following additional costs that the use of weather dependent renewables impose on the electricity supply system:

  • Renewables intermittency and unreliability and the dilute and variable energy sources being harvested
  • The non-dispatchability of weather-dependent renewables: the power produced is unrelated, and unrelatable, to demand
  • The disruption of the grid from the fluctuating and intermittent power production from renewables with large and sudden swings in renewable power output
  • The dispersed locations of renewable installations requiring extended networks for generators remote from centres of population
  • Renewables requirement for continuously available power back-up to maintain the grid for the times when wind or solar power is reduced or non-existent.
  • the rapid degradation of renewables power production as they age.

[…] Weather dependent renewable energy depends on capturing essentially dilute and very variable sources of power. So at the same time weather dependent renewables are both capital and maintenance expensive and inevitably unreliable.

The late Prof David Mackay, (former chef scientific advisor of the Department of Energy and Climate Change), in a final interview before his untimely death in 2016 said that the concept of powering a developed country such as the UK with Weather Dependent Renewable energy was:

“an appalling delusion”.

At the time he also said:

“There’s so much delusion, it’s so dangerous for humanity that people allow themselves to have such delusions, that they are willing to not think carefully about the numbers, and the reality of the laws of physics and the reality of engineering….humanity does need to pay attention to arithmetic and the laws of physics.”

If the objectives of using weather dependent renewables were not confused with possibly “saving the planet” from the output of [the UK’s] NZ’s small amount of man-made CO2 produced in [the UK] NZ for electricity generation, their actual cost in-effectiveness and their inherent unreliability, weather dependent renewables would have always been ruled them out of any engineering consideration as means of national scale electricity generation.

It is essential to ask the question what is the actual value of these government mandated excess costs to the improvement of the environment [and our well-being] and for the potential of perhaps saving minuscule temperature increases a 100 years in the future.