web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

Mythbusting: Half of new generation is thermal

Written By: - Date published: 9:54 am, August 22nd, 2008 - 16 comments
Categories: climate change, economy, election 2008, national - Tags:

Reading National’s energy policy last week I was surprised to learn that of 1942MW of new generation that has come online since 2000 1073MW of that has been thermal*.

Sure enough, John Key is going around using that as a ground for National’s policy of building more gas power plants and giving up on the target of having 90% of our power coming from renewable (ie. non-thermal) sources by 2025 – “half of new generation that has come on stream under Labour has been thermal”. Two things – that’s purposely misleading and, even if it were true it wouldn’t matter.

1) Yes, 1073MW of thermal power has come online but nearly all of that has been to replace 797MW of thermal generation that has been decommissioned. A further 155MW is the reserve plant at Whirinaki that is hardly used. So, the net increase in thermal capacity is bugger all. Nearly the net increase in electricity capacity under Labour has come from bringing online renewable sources – hydro, geothermal, wind.

2) Even if most of our new generation was thermal in the last decade, which it wasn’t, that would not in itself be a reason to continue building thermal. We need to get serious about reducing our carbon emissions, saying we should continue to increase our emissions because we have been emitting more in recent years simply does not wash. If anything, the argument that we have been slack in getting serious about reducing emissions is an argument for prioritising renewable generation in more.

I note that Gerry Brownlee is now calling for the reversal of the improved energy standards for lighting – ‘some people want to use less efficient lighting’ is his argument. Funny that he doesn’t apply that same argument to the energy efficiency standards on microwave ovens or fridges, or washing machines – political opportunism anyone? But it does explain why National is projecting electricity demand to increae at 2% annually, whereas the Ministry of Economic Development is projecting just 1.2% – under National, we would go backwards on energy efficiency.

Misleading, stuck in the past, unambitious. Sound like the energy policy for you?

*[there still seems to be some confusion out there. thermal generation means generation powered by burning things, usually fossil fuels – coal, oil, natural gas; it is not geothermal. Basically, thermal = non-renewable]

16 comments on “Mythbusting: Half of new generation is thermal”

  1. lukas 1

    SP one of the main concerns most people have with the energy efficient bulbs was well highlighted in the latest edition of Investigate and TGIF Edition (www.tbr.cc)

    Also GB mentioned it in his press release…

    “With the fire service considering the safety of energy efficient bulbs, Mr Brownlee says many of his colleagues have been fielding complaints from the public about the conventional light-bulb ban.

    “Labour should be listening to those concerns.”

  2. lukas. CFLs have been standard in the EU and US for years. They haven’t burned down yet.

    This is the same kind of excuse that the righties come up with every time. It’s actually quite Luddite. I can imagine you opposing the replacement of gas street lights with electric because it was unholy.

  3. lukas 3

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4660717a11.html just one recent example SP

    http://www.investigatemagazine.com/tgif15aug08.pdf I know you don’t like Ian, but have a look at this (he even gives The Standard a mention).

  4. bill brown 4

    Lukas,

    Here’s a scientific explanation of the safety of CFLs.

    I suggest you do some critical reading before alighting on the “truth”.

    Are Compact Fluorescent Bulbs A Fire Hazard?

    How can a captcha of “energies short” be a coincidence?

  5. lukas 5

    BB, I work with plastics all day specifying them for certain retail products and providing advice to product engineers around plastics etc. Burning plastic is no good for anyone!

  6. infused 6

    Heh the same old problem with Labour eh. They just don’t listen.

  7. I just wonder with Wishart though, how he makes an article on CFL’s go back to Labour’s rainbow agenda and Helen Clark’s sexuality?

  8. bill brown 8

    Lukas,

    Sorry, I did not realise you were in the industry so I did not give the full information source.

    If you follow this link:
    UL Sets the Record Straight on Safety and Compact Fluorescent Lamps

    The original, unabridged text, is given.

    The statement:

    safety standards require the use of special flame retardant plastics in the base that do not burn or drop particles

    Should assuage your fears.

    I suppose the lesson is really that we should ensure that products we buy are accredited by a testing laboratory such a UL to ensure our safety.

  9. lukas 9

    PP… where does that happen?

    BB, no problem.

    Just read that link. It still concerns me though, sure you can put a flame retardant in the plastic when you are manufacturing, assuring quality of it is another thing!

    The smoke emitted by burnt plastic, flame retardant or not, is still likely to be toxic, let alone the potential for house fires involved in the sparks.

    Does anyone know if there are any CE standards for these bulbs?

  10. insider 10

    lukas

    The Phillips one I have in my hand has a CE symbol but doesn’t give the standard number. I don;t think you can put the CE mark on without achieveing a standard.

    Isn’t the flame retardant plastic a precaution due to the presence of an electronic ballast in the housing?

  11. insider 11

    Steve

    What you are saying is that new thermal doesn’t count “because it…doesn’t count because…I don’t think it should. Oh and Whirinaki never runs, except this year when it was the difference between lights on and lights off.”

    To then say new thermal doesn’t count because it ‘replaced’ other thermal argues a cause and effect that does not exist. What did e3p replace? What about Huntly p40? Otahuhu B?

    ANd then you say black is white because effectively no new thermal was built despite thermal capacity in NZ increasing about 20% over the decade.

    And what about Rodney, Stratford, Bromley, Otahu C? Do those plans not count either?

  12. insider 12

    IN addition, the 2% power growth is probably far more reliable than the 1.2% med figure. That is aspirational whereas the 2% figure is what we actually have done. Even over the last 10 years it was 2% growth year on year according to MED figures. Efficiency has never delivered the kind of gains that would be needed to reduce demand growth by 40% and there is nothing to indicate it will in future.

  13. Matthew Pilott 13

    insider, Steve points out that 797MW of thermal has been decommissioned, and 1073MW commissioned. If you’re confused perhaps you should ask for the data soruce, it seems you’re asking the wrong questions.

    It’s disingenuous to say, for example, e3p replaced a specific plant. E3p added required capacity. It’s not tit-for-tat, it’s about overall capacity.

  14. Lukas 14

    “insider
    August 22, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    lukas

    The Phillips one I have in my hand has a CE symbol but doesn’t give the standard number. I don;t think you can put the CE mark on without achieveing a standard.”

    ok, i thought there would be some CE standards they had to achieve. Your products get destroyed if you put the mark on without actually achieving the standard.

    The flame retardant would be put in there to help achieve their CE rating. I know of plumbing products that have to have flame retardant.

  15. polaris 15

    Dealing first with demand:

    – Historical growth rate over last 30 years – 2.2%
    – Electricity Commission predictions in Briefing to Incoming Minister in 2005 – 2.7% tailing down to around 2%

    Labour government predictions to 2025 – 1.2%

    Doesn’t make sense. Electricity efficiency will not halve our electricity demand growth.

    Secondly in terms of thermal:

    – Key did not say “we should continue to increase our emissions because we have been emitting more in recent years” as you state – that is deliberately misleading. The claim that “more than half of new generation in the past decade has been thermal” was used in the context of saying that the government has a poor record on renewable generation – which is true.

    – You say that new thermal replacing decomissioned thermal doesn’t matter – but renewable generation like hydro, wind etc could have replaced that thermal capacity. The reality is that this was the government that gave a guarantee over gas supply to allow Genesis to build a massive new 385 MW plant at Huntly.

    National’s approach to me seems a sensible one. Encourage renewables through RMA reform and an ETS that puts a price on carbon, but be realistic about the reliability of gas and the importance it already plays in our electricity system.

    You won’t find anybody who supports the thermal ban other than greenpeace. All the generators are opposed, as are groups like the Business Council for Sustainable Development. The policy is non-sensical.

  16. bill brown 16

    Lukas,

    The EC’s requirements are listed in This link.

    Safety standards to be met to get CE in part 1.2.

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

1 2 3 7

  • 50 cents? Makes no sense.
    The minimum wage rose by 50 cents this month from 14.25 to 14.75. While it’s a small step towards ensuring minimum workers get a fair share, it’s important to remember that real wages only rose 1.5% while productivity rose by… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    6 hours ago
  • The Serco corrections circus
    It should seem obvious to employers, private or public, that it’s important to do what you can to retain your best, most experienced staff. They make life easier for you because they’re effective, attentive and often respected by those around… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    7 hours ago
  • Time for NZ to prohibit the killing of great apes
    That ban was widely hailed, and spurred efforts in other countries to get similar bans. However, apes are still being exploited, abused and killed, both in captivity and in the wild. Examples of cruelty, neglect and abuse abound. Apes are… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    3 days ago
  • Auckland building consents: Tragic
    The only word to describe the latest building consent figures for Auckland is ‘tragic’, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Whatever the Government is doing to address the Auckland housing crisis, it is clearly not working. ...
    3 days ago
  • A whiff of a new biosecurity scandal?
    A pest which could create havoc for New Zealand’s horticulture and agriculture sector must be as much a focus for the Government as hunting out fruit flies, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “While the Ministry for Primary Industries is… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government shrugs off health sector crisis
    Despite new evidence showing that cuts to health spending are costing lives the Government continues to deny the sector is struggling, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Health services in New Zealand are in crisis. ...
    4 days ago
  • Parata lowered the bar for failing charter school
    When Hekia Parata became aware that the Whangaruru charter school was experiencing major problems her first action was to drop standards by reducing the number of qualified teachers they had to employ, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins has revealed. “Hekia… ...
    4 days ago
  • National not being straight about the economy
    John Key and Bill English need to be straight with New Zealanders about the damage their failure to diversify the economy is doing, after new figures show export growth plunged due to a collapse in dairy exports, says Grant Robertson.… ...
    4 days ago
  • Mind the Gap
    This week the International Monetary Fund released a report on the wider economic value in closing the gender pay gap. When even the bastions of free-market economics start to raise concerns about gender pay gaps, we have to realise how… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Labour will hold National to parental leave promise
    Labour will hold National to its promise to increase the support given to new parents of premature, multiple birth and babies born with disabilities, Labour’s paid parental leave campaigner Sue Moroney says. "I am naturally disappointed that after battling for… ...
    5 days ago
  • It was all just pillar talk
    Steven Joyce’s confession that he can no longer guarantee a pillar-free design for the New Zealand International Convention Centre shows the Government has abandoned its dream of creating an ‘iconic’ ‘world-class’ structure, says Labour Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “Steven… ...
    5 days ago
  • Australians move on offshore speculators
    John Key might want to have a quiet word with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott about Canberra's just-announced crack down on offshore speculators when he visits New Zealand this week, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says."Tony Abbott's centre right government… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government at odds on overseas driver crashes
    National backbencher Jacqui Dean has spoken out about overseas driver crashes, putting herself at odds with Prime Minister John Key who is on record as saying it’s not a big issue, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “I’m not surprised… ...
    5 days ago
  • Human Rights and the Palestine Crisis
    Last week I heard two Palestinians speak at Wellington events about the ongoing crisis in their country. Samar Sabawi spoke to a full house about the history of Palestine and gave us a lucid and disturbing account of the situation… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 days ago
  • Time to take real care of our kids
    An Amnesty International report has once again criticised New Zealand’s track record on looking after our kids, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. The annual report, which looks at global human rights abuses highlights not only the fact that high… ...
    5 days ago
  • John Key wrong about Labour’s war vote
    John Key’s desperate claims that the former Labour Government didn’t put combat troop deployment to a Parliamentary vote are simply wrong, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “It was disgraceful that the Prime Minister ran rough shod over democracy and… ...
    5 days ago
  • Māori language bill needs work
     It is clear that the first draft of the Māori Language Bill was about structures and funding rather than the survival of te reo Māori, Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.  “Labour is pleased that the Minister of Māori… ...
    5 days ago
  • Report proves troubled school shouldn’t have opened
    The long-awaited release of an Education Review Office report into Northland’s troubled Whangaruru charter school proves it should never have been approved in the first place, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This report identifies problems with absenteeism and disengaged… ...
    6 days ago
  • Reply to PM’s statement on deploying troops to Iraq
    “The decision of any Government to send troops to a conflict zone is a very serious one, and it is right that this House takes time to consider it, to debate it, and, ideally, to vote on it, but we… ...
    6 days ago
  • Minister must take action on death trap slides
    Workplace Relations Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse must take urgent action to ensure inflatable amusement rides don’t become death traps for children, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway says. “No one wants to stop kids having fun, but horror stories… ...
    6 days ago
  • Manus Island and the New Zealand Government
    This week the Greens have participated in awareness activity about Manus Island, the refugee camp on an island in Papua New Guinea where Australia dumps asylum seekers. John Key says that he has every confidence in the Australian Government’s claim… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Election Inquiry – Getting accessible voting on the agenda
    James Shaw has been doing a series of blogs on the Election Inquiry into last year’s general election.  I thought this was a great opportunity to raise an issue very dear to me – accessible voting. Last year’s general election… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • RMA changes no solution to Christchurch housing
    Housing will continue to be a big issue in 2015. The latest Consumer Price Index, released last month, shows both good news and bad news on the housing front. After years of being the most expensive place to build a… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Saving kokako in South Auckland’s Hunua Ranges
    It is amazing that you can hear the song of the endangered North Island kokako in South Auckland’s Hunua Ranges, less than 50 kms from the central city. A heavy schedule of policy workshops at the Green Party’s Policy… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Let’s not turn a blind eye to human rights
    The Cricket World Cup has just opened in New Zealand, and it’s an opportunity for us to shine on the world stage. International sport can be a chance for us to build relationships with other countries, and examine what it… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Its Just Not Cricket
    This week it was my privilege to work with Sri Lankan Tamil communities in this country and host Australian journalist and human rights advocate Trevor Grant. I knew a bit about Trevor from his biography but I didn’t know just… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for NZ to #BeCrueltyFree
    The Government is about to progress the final stages of the Animal Welfare Amendment bill. This will be our last opportunity to get changes made to improve the bill to ensure a better outcome for animals. I have put forwards… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • We want access!
    Access to buildings is a big issue for many New Zealanders. It looks like that, due to the hard work and persistence of people in the disability community, the Government may finally be starting to take access to buildings seriously.… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens call on Super Fund to divest from fossil fuels
    The Green Party today called on the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (the Fund) to divest from fossil fuels, starting immediately with coal. The call was accompanied with a new report, Making money from a climate catastrophe: The case for divesting… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Young Kiwis’ housing crisis
    Shelter is a fundamental human need along with food, water and clean air. All humans need adequate shelter; it’s a human right. Warm, safe, stable accommodation is critical for young people to be able learn and grow and just be.… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 weeks ago

Removed at the request of The Daily Blog.
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere