web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

The Greens, electricity & sustainability

Written By: - Date published: 2:15 pm, April 16th, 2013 - 48 comments
Categories: climate change, cost of living, david shearer, greens, labour, privatisation, Privatisation, public transport, russel norman, sustainability - Tags:

Stuff’s report about the joint Labour-Green electricity announcement on Thursday, says that the policies of the parties will have similarities and differences.

Today, Shearer and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said they would hold a press conference on Thursday.

“The reason we’re doing this is because we both share the same ambition to bring down electricity prices,” Shearer said.

The policies had similarities and differences, he said.

So I will be hoping to hear something about sustainability from the Greens, given it is a big part of their main energy policy, which says:

Improving energy system planning and co-ordination

The Green Party will:

  • Redesign the Electricity Commission as a Sustainable Energy Commission with regulatory responsibility for all fuels.

  • Require an urgent independent review of Transpower’s planned grid upgrade with a view to developing alternatives that have less impact on the environment and better facilitate a sustainable energy system.

  • Ensure that all major capital projects are tested against sustainable alternatives such as energy efficiency, fuel switching, renewable generation, load shifting and distributed generation.

  • Investigate introducing ‘progressive pricing’, whereby the more energy you use, the more you pay, above a certain base level.

In 2010, debating the government’s Electricity Industry Bill, Kennedy Graham said:

We contended that the underlying challenge was missing. This was the need for a genuine regulatory framework that would make the playing field level for more sustainable renewable energy. We said that the Government was in danger of missing the whole point.

I will be looking to see how the Greens will incorporate plans to keep electricity prices down, while also working towards use of more renewables, and sustainable use of energy.

In my view, sustainability requires a change in mind-set in how we use electricity: that includes better public transport and less focus on promoting a consumer society.

48 comments on “The Greens, electricity & sustainability”

  1. Rich 1

    The way to package this would be a guarantee that for an average household (say < $150 of electricity a month), electricity prices would be cut in the first two years of a Green/Labour government and then pegged to inflation.

    I also think that the core goal should be to get to 100% renewable electricity and then start replacing static and transport users of fossil fuels (dairy factory boilers, diesel railways and the like). Realistically, that means more wind, pumped storage and a bit of hydro.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      “I also think that the core goal should be to get to 100% renewable electricity and then start replacing static and transport users of fossil fuels (dairy factory boilers, diesel railways and the like). Realistically, that means more wind, pumped storage and a bit of hydro.”

      And more expensive power than what we’re currently paying.

      • Rich 1.1.1

        Why? Currently our power is priced artificially, but linked to the cost of coal and gas, which can be expected to increase steadily as fossil fuels become increasingly short and carbon charges are imposed (through taxes on our exports if we try and opt out of international coorperation).

        Renewable power has two cost inputs, the capital in the plant and the wages/consumables to operate it. That’s much more controllable than fuel costs.

        If we reach 100% renewables we’ll have a major competitive advantage of low stable power prices while overseas countries have high and fluctuating ones.

  2. Peter 2

    Hmm. Sustainability vs resilience? That may seem like a semantic argument, but we cannot replace fossil fuels with any combination of renewable technology, so whatever regulatory body the Greens propose needs to be aware of this.

    Of course, this is politics, and most of the public is wedded to the idea of ever increasing primary energy supplies and progress, so even the Greens need to tread softly here. If you think climate change arguments are hard, try challenging people on energy supply concepts – you can get a very violent reaction.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      but we cannot replace fossil fuels with any combination of renewable technology

      Not within the same paradigm but we can if change the paradigm. No more cars, trucks limited in range and use of bio-fuels, trains and buses run on electricity. Factories run on electricity already. Farming’s a little difficult but I reckon we could convert them over to electricity as well – we just wouldn’t have as many of them.

  3. Pete 3

    Investigate introducing ‘progressive pricing’, whereby the more energy you use, the more you pay, above a certain base level.

    If this is introduced, it had better be on a regional and maybe even seasonal basis. I’d warrant that households here in Dunedin in the winter must of neccesity use more electricity for home heating than their counterparts in warmer parts of the country.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.1

      I doubt the policy would apply to domestic users. If prices come down overall that would offset any regional imbalances.

      • Shane Gallagher 3.1.1

        No – it is directed at domestic users – we are very conscious of fuel poverty and this is part of the policy framework to address this issue.

    • geoff 3.2

      Pete, if you look at the historical data, average annual electricity usage by households has been incredibly static. South Islanders generally do use about 1000-2000kWh more than North Islanders because of extra heating but the difference might be less than you expect because Nth Islanders tend to use more A/C than Sth Islanders.

      The Green’s idea sounds like it might be similar to my electricity rebate idea. You get a parcel of electricity for free (~7000-9000kWh) and then you pay for anything over that.
      I’m sure neither the Green’s or Labour will go that far, which is a shame, and if the Green’s progressive pricing idea has any similarity then, I imagine, they will make the parcel of energy you receive just cheaper, not free.

    • Lanthanide 3.3

      That is in fact already the case, Pete.

      There is a “low user” tariff that I believe all power companies must offer. The treshold to be considered a “low user” is something like 8000 kwh in the North Island and 9000 kwh in the South Island.

  4. Populuxe1 4

    I have yet to see the Greens address the impact of turbines and tidal generators on bird and marine life, which is interesting because we have already seen how hydroelectric dams impact the environment. Or indeed the practicalities of where exactly we would put big solar farms. It all ends up looking like hypocrisy and political hand waving after a while.

    • geoff 4.1

      Fuck off ya nonce.

      [lprent: Explain why you think that. Otherwise I tend to view it as being pointless abuse. If you read the policy, you’ll find that I ban for it. You just got your warning. ]

      • Populuxe1 4.1.1

        Why? For mentioning the elephant in the room. Aw, did I kill Santa Claus?

        • geoff 4.1.1.1

          For trying to derail the comments.
          Oops Mustn’t. Feed. The. Troll.

          • infused 4.1.1.1.1

            Pretty legit question

            • geoff 4.1.1.1.1.1

              And I answered it. I told him to fuck off (ya nonce) becos he was doing the standard right wing(nut) lame-arse tactic of trying to divert the comments because he has no answer to the main points of the post.

              • Populuxe1

                ‘Cept I’m not right wing – just bemused by all the contradictions in Green policy. The environment is an absolute priority, but with the Greens it;s al feel good promises and very little brass tacks. They are becoming increasingly more like Labour.

    • vto 4.2

      Yes have wondered about the effects of say the kaipara harbour mouth tidal generators on the sand through which it passes. Surely the sandy mouth will simply shift to the side of the generators which will disappear under the sand.

      • Peter 4.2.1

        That’ll be why the Environment Court ordered a staged approach for the Kaipara project, with adaptive management.

        There are risks with marine power, but they aren’t high enough to warrant saying no, given the huge opportunities to get on with powering this country with renewables.

      • lprent 4.2.2

        Nope. The current around the Pouto through to the heads is extremely deep, has bugger all sand near the bottom because of the current speeds, and won’t move because of a few harbour bottom obstructions because of the orientation of the harbour mouth.

        My grandparents had a bach at Pouto and we used to damn near live there when we were kids in summer. Used to dive at the turn of the low tide, fish for breakfast at the canyon at the beach shore, and got caught out in a dinghy with a running tide for several hours praying the anchor wouldn’t drag when the seagull died and we had no way of getting us to shore.

        It is a different kind of harbour. The amount of water washing in and out of those narrow heads is immense. It tends to obey rock and bugger all else is ever going to affect it.

  5. Shane Gallagher 5

    No but a little fact-fairy dies every time you talk rubbish… here are the estimated stats from the US.

    The year is the year of the estimate, the first number is the low side estimate and the second number is the high side estimate. You will note that cat-kills are not included here – just man-made stuff. The number of bird kills, while regrettable, is vanishingly small compared to, say, glass.

    Collisions with:

    Wind turbines 2009/10 100,000 (2010) 440,000 (2009)
    Towers 2008 4,000,000 50,000,000
    Power lines 2001 10,000,000 154,000,000
    Roads/vehicles 2005 10,700,000 380,000,000
    Glass 2006 100,000,000 1,000,000,000

    [lprent: Reply to this. I do wish that people would learn to use the reply buttons. But interesting – I made it into a table so I could read it more easily ]

    • Murray Olsen 5.1

      Thanks for those numbers SG. With the rage the right wing nutters get into about bird deaths by turbine blades, I could never understand how the blades could stay white and the area around a windfarm could be anything but a bloodied swamp.

      • Lanthanide 5.1.1

        It’s a coverup, clearly.

        • Murray Olsen 5.1.1.1

          Obviously. The stuff in the chemtrails cleans them whiter than white. It’s no accident that the TSA Federal Air Marshal Robert MacLean and the toothpaste have the same name. This goes deeper than I’d suspected.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1

        There’s an easy solution to bird kills from wind farms – build them out to sea. Comes with other benefits as well such as the fact that the pylons the wind turbines are built upon will act as artificial reefs and that the area covered by the wind farm cannot be trawled for fish making it an automatic marine reserve.

  6. DH 6

    I’m waiting with bated breath but I don’t have high expectations.

    One of the reasons we have high power prices is because the power companies have all revalued their generation assets upwards each year to portray a ‘fair market value’. Mighty River Power has equity of $3.014 billion dollars. Of that equity $1.86 billion is ‘asset revaluation reserves’ which is roughly how much they’ve ramped up the value of their generation plants since being made an SOE. That’s tax-accounted too, there’s an extra $720million in deferred tax on those revaluations.

    That reserve represents well over half of their required return on equity, at 7% ROE we’re talking an extra $130million in profits. And that’s just one of them, Meridian has revaluation reserves of $3.39 billion.

    The sharemarket value of these power companies is a factor of their profits. Any cut in power prices comes from the top, a small cut can mean a large fall in profits. A 10% cut in the average selling price for Mighty River would be a 33% fall in EBITDAF and more than a 50% fall in nett profit which would result in a corresponding 50% fall in the share price. I can’t see Labour or the Greens going that far so I expect we won’t see any real cuts for most of us.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      One of the reasons we have high power prices is because the power companies have all revalued their generation assets upwards each year to portray a ‘fair market value’.

      Just destroy the book value of the companies in a one hit write down then. One way to do that is to poison pill every electricity company with conditional debt.

      • DH 6.1.1

        Yeah you could do that but those power companies are assets on the Crown’s books, any writedowns would increase the Crown deficit. They’d really need to unwind all the revaluations too which includes the lines companies like Vector, fully privatised powercos like Contact, and Transpower. All up I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s nearly $15billion in revaluations that have already been booked & spent by Cullen & English. It’s a lot of money and we don’t have it any more.

        We’re paying the price of putting beancounters in charge of the nation’s finances.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1

          Bean counters in charge of the nations finances would have been fine

          Instead we put Wall St types in charge.

          Yeah you could do that but those power companies are assets on the Crown’s books, any writedowns would increase the Crown deficit.

          It’s simple a ledger entry. It has zero effect on cashflow and unless some financing asset backing conditionalities apply, I can’t see that there would be any fiscal impact.

          • DH 6.1.1.1.1

            Jesus. Get real, after English’s borrowing spree the nation’s nett worth is only about $60 billion as it is now. Knock another $10-15 billion off that & see what our financial situation would end up like.

            That $15billion has all been spent as real money, Cullen & English booked it as paper (ledger) gains and then borrowed against it or called it a surplus which they then spent.

            It’s not Wall St types who got us into this mess. It was accountants.

            • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Nonsense

              Fuck this “nett worth of the nation” concept, it’s an irrelevant abstraction that the markets don’t give a shit about. It’s not even what the bond vigilantes look at because that’s not how sovereigns are financed.

              In other words, the sovereign is not a home owner going to the bank manager trying to get a second mortgage based on the equity they have left in their residence.

              It’s not Wall St types who got us into this mess. It was accountants.

              What the fuck are you on about? They may have had accounting degrees yes, but the people who got us into this mess are Financial Engineering Treasury types, not bean counters.

  7. Rich ,the other 7

    Might be a problem for the greens on this one, green power (wind turbine) is a very expensive way to generate electricity.
    If power prices are to be forced down, expensive wind generation will go out of business and be replaced by coal fired generation.

    [lprent: You really should remember how to type in your handle so the overworked mods don’t have to release it. ]

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Might be a problem for the greens on this one, green power (wind turbine) is a very expensive way to generate electricity.

      Far, far cheaper than relying on imported fuels forever.

      If power prices are to be forced down, expensive wind generation will go out of business and be replaced by coal fired generation.

      Nope, long term renewables are always cheaper than non-renewables.

      • Rich the other 7.1.1

        Rubbish,
        No need to import anything, we have a thousand years of coal just waiting to be burned in our power stations and its very low cost, using coal the price electricity would fall by about 33%,
        that’s why Japan and Germany are converting to coal fired generation.

        Wind power only exists so power company’s can trumpet there green credentials, its not cost competitive.

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1

          You’re forgetting the cost of Climate Change that burning coal and other fossil fuels has. A cost that wind power and other renewables don’t have. This is why we must start taxing the burning of fossil fuels – to make the economics of doing so meet the actual cost. Once we do that then, lo and behold, wind and other renewables are cheaper.

          You want a market system? Then you need the costs to be properly charged for.

          • Rich the other 7.1.1.1.1

            So you think that by forcing up the cost of fossil fuels that this will some how produce the cheaper electricity .
            On climate evolution ,
            please explain the cause of the creation of the sahara desert, it certainly wasn’t man made.
            .

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    The Greens: “We’re going to review this, investigate that, rescope this and report on the other.”

    FFS the Greens are turning into Labour.

  9. millsy 9

    Wind and solar are more suited to small scale niche applications, rather than powering things like smelters and hospitals. Examples can include remote communities, solar street lights, and the like.

    Im not expecting anything to radical from this announcement. The best I am hoping for is for a return to some sort of central co-ordination and planning, and allowing lines companies to own generation and retail assets (and vice versa).

    • Tiresias 9.1

      I, too, expect little of consequence. Labour might have the credibility but don’t have the vision. The Greens have the vision but don’t have the credibility. The solution to that is obvious to everyone, but is also anathema to politicians of any stripe.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.2

      Wind and solar are more suited to small scale niche applications, rather than powering things like smelters and hospitals. Examples can include remote communities, solar street lights, and the like.

      Put an average 1KW of solar generation on each house in the country. That’s about 1.5GW of generation. I suspect that’s capable of doing more than niche stuff although what it would actually do is free up the power from the main generators to be used for other stuff such as factories and public transport.

      • DH 9.2.1

        “Put an average 1KW of solar generation on each house in the country. That’s about 1.5GW of generation. ”

        Now you’re getting the hang of it, although 2-3Kw is better you just don’t save quite enough with 1Kw and it costs little extra to install more. 1KW of panels will generate around 1.2 Mw/hr annually on a reasonable site and use about 6.5 sq metres of roof space. That’s $300-350 worth of power.

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

1 2 3 7

  • 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
    2 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. ...
    2 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… ...
    2 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. ...
    3 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… ...
    3 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.… ...
    3 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
    3 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… ...
    4 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… ...
    4 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… ...
    4 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… ...
    4 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
    4 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… ...
    4 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… ...
    4 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… ...
    4 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    5 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
  • On the River Patrol in Te Tai Tokerau
    Last Wednesday, I went on a tour of some of Northland’s rivers with  Millan Ruka from Environmental River Patrol as he monitored water quality throughout Te Tai Tokerau. The dry conditions meant we couldn’t use the boat but we visited… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    3 weeks ago
  • Opening of Parliament 2015
    Russel NormanOpening of Parliament Speech February 2015 Tēnā koutou Tēnā koutou Tēnā koutou katoa. A brief history of climate change What a summer! It's been hot, even here in Wellington, hotter than any summer I can remember. All… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    3 weeks ago

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

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere