100% carbon free power generation?

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, June 26th, 2019 - 77 comments
Categories: climate change, Conservation, energy, Environment, global warming, greens, james shaw - Tags:

The Interim Climate Change Commission has come out saying that making our electricity generation 100% renewable would be really expensive and that that expense would land on the poor of New Zealand. That’s according to this NZHerald scoop.

FFS these people need to show they are useful or go and get jobs. The Minister signaled in March that he was open to changing the 100% renewable horizon if they came up with something useful.

Instead they decide to go and shit on the Minister.

The ICCC were not tasked with telling us how hard it was all going to be. No. The Government asked the ICCC to provide advice on planning for the transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035.

Having New Zealand transition to 100 per cent renewable energy was one of the key planks of the Greens 2017 election campaign, and this got written into Government. In Labour and the Green’s supply and confidence agreement, the parties agreed to: “Request the Climate Commission to plan the transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035 (which includes geothermal) in a normal hydrological year”.

What I am looking for from this report, once it hits the streets, is:

  • How does it propose to incentivise Meridian to make it get its Tiwai Point power supply into the main grid? That would make the carbonized electricity generators and the Electricity Authority wake up and take notice
  • What kind of regulatory tools would the Electricity Authority need to assist this?
  • Could EECA have some part to play in it?
  • What extra investment might Transpower need to assist this, with different surges from different plants at different times?
  • Any legislative tweaks needed?

No, what we get from this interim commission is bitching and moaning about how policy is too hard.

What these overpaid fools have also failed to deliver is a properly democratized grid for generators large and small: an open-access network, in which consumers can connect and operate any device – including solar, batteries, and electric vehicles (subject to proper safety and operating standards and an appropriation cost for access).

To state the obvious: this is the way life in modern New Zealand is becoming now, not just in 2035.

We are one of the most backwards of developed economies when it comes to decarbonising, and have been coasting on massive interventions in dams and geothermal plant made in the four decades after WW2. Time for the ICCC to state what the bold new interventions need to be. That is their damn job.

They’ve had a roadmap for this for quite some time. If this Interim Commission isn’t in make-it-happen mode, they need to Decommission themselves.

The government clearly has the will to generate cross-Departmental bid discipline through the WellBeing Framework, so it would be great to see it having that same will in decarbonising electricity generation with recommendations across multiple Departments and agencies.

The electricity sector is increasingly confident in its ability to evolve and adapt, as falling costs bring more solar, batteries and electric vehicles onto distribution networks. New tools and pricing models are already being developed to enable their uptake while also managing the change in consumption patterns that will result.

Earlier this year the Major Electricity Users’ Group cited the “significant potential” of electrification to reduce emissions, but warned that won’t happen unless the cost of power can be kept low. My little caveat to that is that there are major carbon-electricity generators who are big enough to refocus their carbon reliance.

So here’s a practical signal:

Synlait Milk completed the commissioning of a 6 megawatt electrode boiler – the largest in the country – in March this year. The new boiler, which is expected to avoid 13,700 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, was enabled by Canterbury network company Orion doubling the transformer capacity at Dunsandel and installing two new 11-kilovolt lines to the plant.

Orion is now planning to spend close to $29 million within the next five years building a new link to Transpower’s 220-kV line at Norwood.
That will provide additional power to meet demand at Dunsandel, Brookside, Rolleston and Highfield from rural township development, commercial growth and “signalled decarbonisation measures by cornerstone industrial customers”, Orion says in its latest asset management plan.

Practical, and market-led.

The government is currently in train to re-regulate the legislation that governs Fonterra. The ICCC should have given a strong signal about how to persuade Fonterra to phase out their dirty coal-fired evaporators in favour of non-carbonised electricity. Among other reasons, there are plenty of consumers who already won’t touch Fonterra products on this count alone.

Just as Kiwirail are actively investigating how to join the remaining Fonterra plants to rail rather than relying on roads, so too should the generators consider how to pull this massive customer fully their way.

Now, in the politics of this, I see Shaw getting more support from this from Parker rather than the weak Megan Woods. Parker is busy with stuff, and it’s easy to swot the Greens down on most things.

But if this government can re-regulate banks as they are doing, they can re-regulate electricity generators towards the 100% renewable target.

Hey ICCC: form a plan or get out of the way.

77 comments on “100% carbon free power generation?”

  1. Gristle 1

    I've talked to senior management at some of gentailers on this particular issue.  My interpretation of what the are saying is that they don't want have anything change in the current regulatory environment regarding climate change. Their argument is that electricity generation accounts for about 6-9% of NZ carbon output.  And as such, it's better for the NZ government to look elsewhere first: more bang for the buck.  

    However, this tends to overlook the impact of energy substitution occurring in industry (9%) and transport (20%).  As these migrate to electricity, then the impact of hydrocarbon based electricity generation on the total NZ carbon output increases, and as such moves back into the sights of needing to be addressed.

    Currently, 15% of NZ electricity is generated from hydrocarbons.  Currently, the North Island is deficient in generating capacity. Currently, NI spot prices are hanging around $100 per MWhr, and is 40% up from last year's position of $70 per MWhr. The ICCC worries about price stability.  We are past that point.

    • WeTheBleeple 1.1

      That's my understanding too. To transition the bulk of our energy to electricity will require a lot more sustainable electricity generation. Without building sustainable infrastructure it's going to be gas and coal stopping the gap.

      What's the point of an EV if I charge it with coal produced electricity. If we're burning some coal now, and transition our fleets – all of it will be coal powered as it is electricity above and beyond current usage. Coal powered EV's… madness.

      leuan (2) has a point that they're pointing out how the last few percent to switch to renewables are an expensive resource hog – while larger benefits might be obtained elsewhere; but it will always come back to how much we can actually sustainably generate to power the transitional techs required.

      • Andre 1.1.1

        Surprisingly, even if an EV is entirely charged from coal-fired electricity, it's still lower emissions than than an ICE burning petrol, and fairly likely to still be better than a diesel ICE.

        Of the chemical energy in the fossil fuel, a coal-fired electricity plant turns around 40% into electricity. After transmission losses and battery charging/discharging losses and electric motor inefficiency, around 30 to 35% actually goes into creating useful motion, plus some of it can sometimes be recovered through regenerative braking.

        In contrast, a petrol vehicle only turns 20 to 25% of it's input chemical energy into useful motion. Diesels might get up to 30% if they are very very well engineered. Neither petrol nor diesel can recover any energy through regenerative braking.

        But yeah, in NZ we've got such an abundance of renewable energy sources it would be madness to burn coal to power EVs.

        • lprent 1.1.1.1

          I agree with the last paragraph.

          But there is a glaring hole of a false equivalence in your mid-two paragraphs.

          It simply doesn't matter what the energy efficiency is. What matters for climate change are the quantity and types of emissions by mass.

          Coal is essentially a block of carbon. Petrol and diesels are hydrocarbons, which means that both the emissions and pathways to generate energy are different. Coal produces mostly carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons produce CO2 and steam.

          The generation of energy from coal is usually much more efficient in modern furnaces than it is in small engines for the same amount of carbon. But so is every other scale-up.

          But with coal I suspect that its generation of CO2 is even higher for the same amount of energy as well.

          You may be right in your conclusion in the first paragraph – I'd have to figure it out. But that is an assertion as your argument is completely spurious for greenhouse gases.

          A real equivalence would be if you compared a gas powered fossil fuel plant compared to a coal plant. What you're really describing looking at is the efficiencies of a large plant compared to a small plant.

          Grrr…

          • Andre 1.1.1.1.1

            I was responding to the suggestion that EVs aren't an emissions improvement over ICE vehicles if the electricity is coming from a coal plant – that's a common anti-EV and anti-climate-action talking point overseas, and it's just not true. It always* reduces emissions to replace an ICE vehicle with an EV, even where the electricity for the EV comes from a relatively inefficient old coal plant. (It's better still to ditch the EV for public transport or bicycle, but's that's outside the scope of the point I was going for).

            Modern combined cycle gas plants can turn somewhere around 55% of the chemical energy in the incoming gas into electrical energy – better but still big emissions involved.

            *the only exception is for an EV that's used very little. Producing an EV causes more emissions than an ICE vehicle, because of the large battery. But if the EV is powered by renewables and does around 15000km a year, it's ahead on emissions in under a year. If it's somewhere like West Virginia, it might take up to 10 years to make up the difference. But if it's somewhere like West Virginia and only does a few thousand km a year, then an ICE vehicle might net out lower emissions.

            still looking for where I saw someone going through the numbers in depth, but here's a start; https://cleantechnica.com/2019/04/01/debunking-3-anti-ev-myths/

             

            • Andre 1.1.1.1.1.1

              To put some numbers to it, producing one kWhr of electricity in a coal plant produces about 900g of CO2. That 1 kWhr will move a 2.5 tonne behemoth Tesla model X around 6km, or 150 g/km (if its electricity comes from coal).

              A BMW X5 diesel is pretty close to best in class for fuel consumption and is only a bit smaller than a Model X, and is rated at 162 g/km CO2. The petrol X5 is rated at 197 g/km.

              If that Model X gets its electricity from a combined cycle gas plant at 400g/kWhr, then it's running around 67 g/km. If it's getting its electricity from hydro, wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal …

    • Andre 1.2

      Reckon that spot price increase has anything to do with Tiwai Point taking another 50MW round the clock?

      https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/southland/extra-power-smelter-tiwai-deal

      As far as the electricity sector claiming their emissions are so small they shouldn't need to bother – well, everyone has some sort of reason for special pleading. Looking at where the big potential gains are, for the electricity generation sector, only around 40% of the chemical energy in coal gets turned into electrical energy. The only big sector that's worse is transport, with somewhere around 25% conversion efficiency. Whereas fossil fuel burned for process heat can turn better than 90% of the chemical energy into useful heat.

       

  2. Ieuan 2

    'Instead they decide to go and shit on the Minister.'

    No, they actually pointed out why a 100% renewable goal is actually counter-productive and how we are on target for about 90% renewable anyway.

    Unfortunately this practical, common sense approach isn't enough for ranting environmentalists who have long since lost any sense of perspective.

     

    • Try actually reading the post, in which it says:

      The Minister signaled in March that he was open to changing the 100% renewable horizon if they came up with something useful.

      The relevant bit being "if they came up with something useful." They haven't, just National-style special pleading that this particular sector doesn't need to reduce its emissions.

      The ICCC then went off-scope and gave the government the "well, duh" that we also need to do something about electrification of industrial heat.  Er, yes we do, ICCC, and how's that "on target for 90% renewable" looking if we do that and electrify the car fleet and the rail network?  Actually, yes we do need to focus on this particular sector for a bit and it was your job to make suggestions on how to do it – a job you haven’t done.

  3. Gosman 3

    Nice to see support for market led methods for addressing the challenges of climate change.

  4. millsy 4

    High electricity prices are due to privatisation and deregulation, not decarbonization.

     

    You could build dozens of coal and gas plants and power prices would still skyrocket.

    • Gosman 4.1

      If that was the case why doesn't the government simply instruct the companies they have majority shareholding to compete more vigorously (i.e. lower prices)?

      • left_forward 4.1.1

        Competition in the electricity sector has only increased prices. To slow global warming we need to collaborate – forget ‘winners and losers’ type thinking – we are all going to lose in that game Gos.

        • Gosman 4.1.1.1

          That makes little sense. Explain how competition has lead to increased prices please.

          • WeTheBleeple 4.1.1.1.1

            I'd love to know the answer to that too. Privatisation raised prices. 

            Yesterday Stuff had an article how NZ'ers are not using the cheapest suppliers/changing to cheaper suppliers and costing themselves average ~200 per household per annum.

            The power companies overcharge too if you aren't on the ball. I challenged them last year I think it was when a bill seemed unreasonable – they took $50 off my bill, offered a better deal for future bills… Didn't stop them charging more than they had to for a lengthy period.

            Then there's the poor people late payment penalties. Discounts for paying on time… What – you're broke? – here's another 10% on top to add to your problems.

          • left_forward 4.1.1.1.2

            A classic Gos trick.
            Nah, you explain it – – it doesn’t matter to me – it just is.

      • Gristle 4.1.2

        I assume that your comments are meant to be provocative.  I assume that you are aware that the government sold own it's interests in the gentailers.  As such the ability to direct these companies to do anything is limited.

        Do you think that is merely coincidental that the gentailers produce 85% of electricity and also have 85% of the customers.  Competition is largely illusory and restricted to fighting on the edges.  There is no incentive to build your customer base much beyond your generating capacity.  To do so opens you up risk……and as pointed previously, spot prices have a high degree volatility. 

        Energy costs account for about 35% -40% of a typical residential bill.  I would suggest that the costs of hydroelectric generation per MWhr must be something close zero, as the asset have very low operating costs and are quite aged.  

        Reducing electricity costs will have limited ability to affect consumer prices. 

    • greywarshark 4.2

      Rodney Hide was one of the rat pack.   Not to mind, he is on The Panel on Radionz tonight.   A character out to be amusing to some;  the rest looked on stony faced.  

  5. Observer Tokoroa 5

    Kiwis must get Intelligent

    Sure we can build leaky homes and Buildings

    Sure we can import disease ridden Cattle

    Sure we can Dry Milk –  with coal

     

    But we Must send our grown ups to school so that they can learn about electricity.  They will kick and scream.  We all know that. They will blame God. And Bash their Wives.

    But we must send them back to school to actually learn how to do something .

    Why?  because the Children of this world and the Youth are uniting against you Dumb Leaky Hopeless useless wastrels.

    Get off your asses.  The ministry will not Pay you !

     

    • greywarshark 5.1

      Observer you are making valid points and in a way to catch everyone's attention.   Good luck and keep going.   And don't forget that when we turned ourselves over to the great god neoliberal-economics, previously plain-folks electricity companies sent us glossy brochures informing us about the uses of electricity extolling its virtues.   (And the Social Welfare started advertising themselves and saying how well they treated their clients.)

      So teaching us about electricity is not silly.   We all take the things around us as givens and use them without thought.    And the trend is to talk about making us resilient but to reduce the amount of useful information available to us, or put it in small letters under the news of mayhem and big titties.   

      You have to be a like a moth looking for sex to find the sort of hard information that says understandable, helpful things to those who can read them.   (Indian luna moth detects a single sex … that he can trace a female via her scent from as far away as 6 1/2 miles (11 km https://asknature.org/strategy/sensitive-antennae-detect-sex-pheromones/).  

      Bit of amazing trivia for us all to ponder about.   Of course we have already overpopulated the earth so we don't need any such  aids.

      • Incognito 5.1.1

        We’ve got Tinder and cellphones. How’s that for a bit of amazing trivia for us all to ponder about 😉

        • greywarshark 5.1.1.1

          Just dropped my cellphone doesn't make a difference I hadn't topped it up and so it wouldn't work.   What's Tinder.    Is it the name they gave to the model that started to burn in someone's pocket?

  6. Andre 6

    Part of the argument against going 100% renewable is it requires building excess capacity in renewable generation. Forgetting that we already build peaker fossil fuel plants that sit idle most of the time.

    In any case, here's a piece that argues building a lot of excess renewable generation and simply not taking excess power from them when it's not needed (curtailment) or using that power for activities that are otherwise too low value (such as directly pulling CO2 from the atmosphere) really is the best thing to do.

    https://cleantechnica.com/2019/06/15/curtailment-is-the-easy-answer/

  7. RedLogix 7

    While we may indeed be at 85 – 90% renewable right now, our capacity to add more hydro is extremely limited. As we inevitably start converting the transport fleet to EV, where is the extra electricity coming from?

    If it comes from new coal generation it may be a  modest improvement overall as Andre points out, but not a brilliant one. 

    This new generation must come from solar or wind, which is why pushing the renewable target toward 100% is still necessary. Sometime within our lifetimes it's highly likely burning coal for electricity will be banned globally, so we might as well get a ahead of the game while we can.

    • Andre 7.1

      There's also still a lot of untapped geothermal resource in NZ.

      As Ad's OP briefly touches on, there's also the Tiwai Point issue. There's plenty of reports from around the world of new solar plants being built to supply electricity at under US$0.03/kWhr. This is less than the NZ$0.06 estimated price to Tiwai Point, plus the shipping costs to and from Bluff.

      For a time horizon of say 20 years, it makes financial sense now for Rio Tinto to be working out how to take advantage of the massive untapped solar resource right next to the Weipa bauxite mines. Yes there's engineering issues around how to manage the intermittent nature of that solar energy, but the bottom line is very soon it's going to be cheaper to smelt it on the spot rather than shipping the alumina far away for smelting, then shipping the aluminium somewhere afterwards.

      • greywarshark 7.1.1

        Sop Tiwai Point aluminium smeling tout.   Very likely according to what Andre relayed.   Shane Jones – think of something to replace that in your regional thinking – going forward.   Seriously.

        • WeTheBleeple 7.1.1.1

          Nah don't stop the smelting, aluminiums good stuff. Just needs a good retrofit so they stop hogging so much power from the grid.

          • Andre 7.1.1.1.1

            There's not much can be done by way of a retrofit to reduce electricity consumption. One kg of aluminium represents around 15kWhr of electricity no matter who or where it's produced. The absolute most efficient plants can knock that down to around 13.5 kWhr.

            In a world where greenhouse gas emissions are priced or capped, that electricity consumption is likely to go up. The current process uses carbon anodes. The oxygen from the alumina combines with the carbon to produce CO2, and that carbon oxidation provides some of the energy needed to strip the oxygen from the aluminium.

            It is possible to use inert anodes that don't consume themselves and don't release CO2, but it uses significantly more electricity.

    • alwyn 7.2

      I hope we aren't planning to rely too much on wind power to supply our needs.

      At the moment we are generating about 3,300 MW in the North Island. When I looked precisely 2 MW was from wind.]

      The SI was a bit better. They are getting about 40 MW from wind out of about 3000 MW in total. Do you think it is co-incidental that it isn't blowing today?

      https://www.transpower.co.nz/power-system-live-data

      • Andre 7.2.1

        Heard of pumped hydro storage? If we ever get serious about charging fossil fuel users to dump their waste, then wind plus storage is going to look very attractive. Good thing our geography is very well suited to building pumped hydro storage.

        • WeTheBleeple 7.2.1.1

          Yes, and done right these facilities could also be drought resilience, aquifer replenishment, aquaculture/recreational fishing, boating, walkways, tourism. The imagination is the limit with water features really. Nature and water are so intrinsically linked.

        • Psycho Milt 7.2.1.2

          If we ever get serious about charging fossil fuel users to dump their waste…

          That "if" is highly relevant. These "wind power is rubbish" comments come from climate change deniers who don't see any reason why we'd stop using fossil fuels to generate power.  Some of them (National Party MPs, for example) pretend not to be climate change deniers, but that's for appearances' sake only.  Not sure which category Alwyn's in.

          • Andre 7.2.1.2.1

            Deniers? Or just don't care because they think the physical effects of climate change won't inconvenience them during their remaining lifetimes and imagining they might have to pay a tiny bit more for something overwhelms whatever vestigial sense of civic responsibility they may have?

            • Psycho Milt 7.2.1.2.1.1

              I do them the courtesy of assuming their weaselry arises from honestly-held if mistaken opinion, but yeah, you're right – the real reason may be nothing so forgivable.

        • dv 7.2.1.3

          AND

          battery storage

          Solar

          Seen some interesting ideas where large weight are lifted with excess wind, and allowed to fall the needed.

          Tidal and wave.

          There are soution, just need to be smart.

          • Andre 7.2.1.3.1

            Horses for courses.

            New Zealand is blessed with an abundance of spots where pumped hydro would be cheap to implement, unlike many other places. Pumped hydro is cheap compared to other grid scale storage options, has long life and low maintenance requirements. It's hard to see grid-scale batteries being competitive with pumped hydro here, even with the incredible drop in battery pricing we've seen (which are ongoing).

            If we implement protocols and standards for vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid transfer, then we'll get fairly significant distributed storage available for managing peaks and troughs when the EV fleet builds up.

            Inclined railways with weights are attractive in desert areas where there's many long gradual inclines. Storing compressed air underground is attractive where you have disused mines, wells or other massive underground caverns. Etc etc.

            Building and maintaining equipment for immersion in salt water is way more difficult and expensive than landbased, with equipment above saltwater (offshore wind turbines) closer to the cost of landbased. That's a substantial part of why tidal hasn't taken off, together with the much greater unknowns around how tidal power generation affects sea life.

            Wave energy hasn't really taken off because of the cost and complexity of the equipment needed to harvest a relatively small amount of energy from waves. There just isn't that much energy in mechanical motion.

            • WeTheBleeple 7.2.1.3.1.1

              That's interesting. (building and maintaining equipment for immersion in salt water is way more difficult and expensive than landbased). Obvious now you point it out, and explains that nagging question that crops up now and then – where's the tidal, doesn't have such vagaries as weather patterns…

              There may be future solutions for this. The research could start but I doubt results could be delivered in time to help save the world. Probably teams already on it.

              Fact is there's a lot of organisms which salt water doesn't affect. The study of the structure of their shells, exoskeletons, externally presented proteins (my guess for best bet) and more might come up with a coating to withstand the seas extremities.

              Biomimicry which I'm sure you've heard of. Like how oysters and other  molluscs avoid being overwhelmed by a build up of calcium carbonate, they have structures that turn on and off the ability to facilitate shell deposition. This lent ideas for lining pipes to avoid scaling.

              I like the lagoons that passively fill from tides, then are gated and let back out via turbines. Clever and potentially beautifies the landscape.

        • Dukeofurl 7.2.1.4

          Hydro itself is all the storage you need. Thats what the dam does.
          Why run the water through just to back up again
          A peaking station for occasional use as a grid reliability method which is what  pumped hydro is ,  would be better done by    large scale batteries, recharged off peak  by the hydro

          • Andre 7.2.1.4.1

            If we end up building a shitload of wind turbines to meet future power needs, then it's easy to envisage a situation where our hydro lakes regularly get low and we have an excess of wind energy we want to store.

            It then becomes just a simple cost comparison exercise – if we decide we want say 15,000 MWhr (1 day of Manapouri's output) of storage in the upper North Island, are big batteries cheaper or is pumped hydro somewhere cheaper? Including maintenance cost and expected lifetime, and any value from batteries being able to instantly react while pumped hydro takes maybe minutes to turn on.

            Allegedly Tesla are producing batteries at around USD100/kWhr at the cell level, so that would be around NZD 2 or 3 billion for the battery option. Seems to me you'd get quite a substantial pumped hydro setup for that.

            My guess is pumped hydro would be cheaper than batteries (still), but I wouldn't be confident enough to put money on it. Would you be confident enough to put money the other way? Then there's always the chance of technological developments like new flow batteries changing the equation.

            • WeTheBleeple 7.2.1.4.1.1

              I'd add to that – we have not yet learned to be drought tolerant and an extended drought could really mess with hydro power supply. Pumped storage located proximal to wind and solar sources could be part of our drought tolerance allowing the dams to refill while river flow is less than optimal. 

              Swales and earthworks can direct water to storage while increasing fertility everywhere they run. The slowing of water in the landscape allows aquifer replenishment by water that might otherwise go to sea directly after a rain event. The rivers run better as they also recharge groundwater and groundwater flow is what keeps the rivers going while the sun shines.

              If you fill a sponge with water then put a tap to the top the tap water flows directly out the other end. Likewise when the ground is wet the rain goes 'directly' to aquifers. (the water going in the top replaces that flowing out the bottom.

              With a good hydrological engineer or two we could build serious resilience into otherwise sporadic systems.

               

  8. Pat 8

    A timely and pertinent link from Poission last night

    https://issues.org/the-empty-radicalism-of-the-climate-apocalypse/

    "If one believed that the climate crisis was already under way and that the world had only a decade or so not only to stop the growth of emissions but to slash them deeply, an emergency mobilization to rapidly cut carbon dioxide emissions would seemingly be the only sane response. But the apocalyptic rhetoric, endless demands for binding global temperature targets, and radical-sounding condemnations of neoliberalism, consumption, and corporations only conceal how feeble the environmental climate agenda actually is. The vagueness and modesty of the Green New Deal is not proof that progressives and environmentalists are closet socialists. It is, rather, evidence that most climate advocates, though no doubt alarmed, don’t actually see climate change as the immediate and existential threat they suggest it is."

     

    Instead we look for excuses

    • WeTheBleeple 8.1

      Yeah it's a big read, but highly recommended. Enlightening, depressing. Very useful to get context with so much background noise and people taking untenable positions.

       

      • RedLogix 8.1.1

        I have to confess it's not just a big read, but took me a couple of re-reads to get my head around it.

        • WeTheBleeple 8.1.1.1

          I'm going to re-read it a couple more times it's an awful lot to take in. 

          Senile? I say thorough!

  9. Drowsy M. Kram 9

    Efficiency gains aside, more people = increased demand (for everything.)

    Growth is the enemy of sustainability.

    "In the long term the projections indicate New Zealand's population (4.69 million in 2016) has a 90 percent probability of increasing to 5.29–6.58 million in 2043, and to 5.30–7.88 million in 2068."

    http://archive.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/population/estimates_and_projections/NationalPopulationProjections_HOTP2016.aspx

    Apologies for the repetition:

    “The current economic system being utilized and internalized relies on perpetual growth. It has long operated counter to the reality that we are confined to a finite planet with finite resources. Yet, this system continues to be practiced and promoted globally. As the environmental and social repercussions of disbelief in limits become increasingly clear, so does our need for a new economic system —one that is not wedded to growth. Neither growth in the number of consumers nor growth in the amount consumed.”

    “So far the politicians and economists are so wedded to growth that they insist that economic growth is itself the main characteristic of sustainable development.” – a fine example of magical thinking; our leaders have so many constraints on their imaginations.

  10. WeTheBleeple 10

    A 32-year-old man in rural Germany disrobed and ran through the freezer section of a supermarket to cool off, one of the least severe impacts of a record heatwave that's bearing down on Europe.

    Well played Sir, well played.

  11. SPC 11

    Tiwai Point goes. Does that cover electric cars in the South Island?  

    • Andre 11.1

      A quick calculation sez Tiwai Point uses something like 5.4 billion kWhr per year. A light vehicle can go around 7 km on a kWhr. So Tiwai Point's electricity use could drive a light vehicle 38 billion km. There's around 3.6 million light vehicles in NZ, averaging around 12000 km/year, or around 43 billion vehicle kilometres annually.

      So shutting Tiwai Point would almost cover swapping all light vehicles in New Zealand over to electric.

      • Poission 11.1.1

        And the 1000 direct high paid jobs,and significant loss to the local economy for what? to subsidize the travel of high cost rent seekers in AK or WGN.

        The surplus being exported to the NI is also around the same metric,better to spoil the views of high cost batches along omaha beach etc.

         

        • Andre 11.1.1.1

          Those jobs are going to go in the not very distant future anyway, as soon as Rio Tinto decide the cost savings from using much cheaper solar energy from the outback outweighs the pain of having to front up the capital to move their refining operations and building the solar plant.

          The wind resource is much better along the West Coast. I'm picking sea level rise will swamp those Omaha baches before their part-time residents have to suffer the indignity of looking at wind turbines out their windows.

      • SPC 11.1.2

        Nice, but for getting that extra power over to the North Island. 

        The general scenario lies around storage of (hydro and wind) surplus (management of low wind power generation days and low hydro generation years) and efficiencies (better insulated property) that outweigh population (and smaller household proliferation) growth. 

        • Andre 11.1.2.1

          As I understand it, the recent upgrade to the Cook Strait link is grunty enough it could handle the extra power. IIRC a few years ago when Rio Tinto successfully extorted a 30 million subsidy the latest Tiwai Point contract was being negotiated, the then CEO of Transpower, Patrick Strange, said the only grid upgrade needed was to increase the lines from Manapouri to the Waitaki Basin. Which would take a couple of summers and around 300 million.

    • WeTheBleeple 12.1

      Ooh, wasn't aware of all the sweetheart deals they get or that it affects my bills. Can't see their board or majority shareholders wanting to 'invest in NZ'. Those types only invest in themselves. The 20M season is still 20M profit. Not chump change unless you're unreasonably out of touch. Markets shift, will they change their ways or run away.

      I reckon they'll cut and run or try extort more out of Government.

  12. bwaghorn 13

    If fonterra or any other company for that matter spent up big to reduce their carbon output  ,are they able to access subsidies askin to those that people receive for planting trees.

    • WeTheBleeple 13.1

      They'd increase demand for product insofar as food production goes. Several NZ food businesses have had overseas interest as soon as they went carbon-neutral. The demand for such will only increase, at least till we get the planet back on track.

  13. greywarshark 14

    A draft copy of the Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC) report, obtained by Stuff, warns that while eradicating fossil fuels entirely was "technically feasible" it was also "very costly", with the final few per cent of the target coming at enormous cost with little carbon saving.
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/113730079/experts-warn-100-renewable-electricity-target-will-hurt-new-zealands-wider-climate-goals

    So it might requite tweaking but aiming at nuge drops in emissions, if not to zero levels.   I am sick of hearing about zero.   Let's get going on progressive lowering with sharp drops year by year, reworking the plan, more drops and see emissions more than halved by 2025, only six years away.   

    Talk puts off reasonable actions.   Toll charges on motorways where possible, parking buildings at hubs etc etc.   Something being done at say 10 different areas to start on decided by the committee and encouraging people to limit and lessen.   Practical and encouraging, and monitoring and advising.   Your country needs you, sort of talk.   Pull together phrasing not punitive blame approach.

    • WeTheBleeple 14.1

      Why the tolls again. We pay road user charges it's the trucks need to be accounted for correctly. I spent some time writing up where savings from free public transport might be made in this weeks HTGT in response to your trying to push road tolls. They're expensive to set up and run and only piss motorists off while slowing traffic flow. 

      The zero target is set because if you aim low, guess what happens?

  14. greywarshark 15

    Good if they piss drivers off, including me.    It's too easy to hop in your car and I speak for myself too.    There needs to be adequate public transport, and I talked about routes connecting outlying people to the system.   Sorry about continuing to mention tolls but incentive is still needed to get people to use pt.   When more do, then the car use drops, buses etc. rise, until the system gets more balance, with people using cars when they need to; PT getting cheaper giving worthwhile multi-trip discounts encouraging regular use.

    • bwaghorn 15.1

      Tolls would be fairer than fuel taxs etc to reduce car use as they could be targeted at people who have a viable alternative.  

      And would not hammer us people out here in rural nz who have no choice but to drive .

      ( when I was a city dweller over in Scotland a never owned a vehicle just buses and trains)

      • greywarshark 15.1.1

        All the Scots I have met are canny.   That point about there needing to be a viable alternative for free, true.    Rural and others need to have free transport on road and/ or rail.  Not having to pay for having a paved road, or the alternative only having to use a goat track.     

        (Have you seen the vids of goats climbing rock faces to get salt.   Brian Cox The Incredible Ibex climbs a Dam.)   I definitely don't think people off the main drag should have to put with that.   Joking.

  15. John Irving 16

    Why the secrecy for last two months. If the bureaucrats don't under stand the issues, why the doesn't they  simply put the report out for comment.

    I don’t believe there is any basis for the magic 2% figure – maybe there is a 0.02% number based on some sort of probabilistic disaster scenario with an earthquake taking out the HVDC link during a 6 month period of cloudy windless days during a drought, the internet crashing and Donald Trump sending in the Marines.  I suggest the 2% number and the associated 15% in consumer tariff increases are unsubstantiated PR numbers designed to impress politicians and make lazy journalists sound like they are acting in the public interest.  Presumably the Govt believes the nonsence spouted by the power sector and its ICCC acolytes because they are worried they might loose the $1b they make in taxes and dividends!

  16. Jenny - How to Get there? 17

    As Professor Gluckman said, Because New Zealand is only responsible for 0,2% of global emissions, New Zealand's greatest contribution to fighting climate change will be by setting an example.

    The National Party, including their latest climate change spokesperson Todd Muller, argue the opposite. That New Zealand must not be a leader, because it will put us at a trading disadvantage with our competitors. Todd Muller has even said that calling for New Zealand to be a leader on climate change is extremism.

    Instead National have argued for a policy that they call 'fast following'.

    The concept of leadership being a foreign concept to them. Let the market lead is their mantra.

    National have long argued against any iconic actions on climate change. !00% renewable electricity is one of those examples that National don't want New Zealand to give.

  17. mauī 18

    53 truckloads of concrete.

    48 tons of steel.

    To build 1 windmill.

    Carbon free?….. "tui"

    • Incognito 18.1

      What will it be milling?

    • Andre 18.2

      Not carbon free yet, given the steel and concrete industries haven't even started making use of available technologies they could use to become carbon free. But wind energy has a tiny fraction of the emissions of fossil fuel generation.

      Estimates very, but here's a few median values from the first table (IPCC 2014) from the wikipedia entry on carbon emissions intensity of electricity production, in grams CO2 eq per kWhr generated:

      coal 820

      gas (combined cycle) 490

      solar PV (grid scale) 48

      geothermal 38

      concentrated solar 27

      hydro 24

      nuclear 12

      wind 11

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life-cycle_greenhouse-gas_emissions_of_energy_sources

       

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