- Date published:
8:41 am, September 1st, 2012 - 156 comments
Categories: climate change, energy, Environment, infrastructure, sustainability - Tags: climate change, electricity, Environment, wind power
Planning permission has been sought to construct the world’s largest windfarm off the Scottish coast. Estimated to cost around 4.5 billion pounds and cover some 300 square km of ocean, if the project receives the green light, it will produce up to 40% of Scotland household power use. When compared to other forms of energy generation, it’s alleged that CO2 emmissions would be cut by between 1.5 and 4.5 million tonnes p/a.
I’m drawn to the idea. And merely wonder whether the design plans include mechanisms for capturing wave power in conjunction with wind power. (I’m no engineer, but it seems to me a fairly simple proposition to capture the energy of wave hydrolics within the vertical column of a windmill’s shaft.)
Given that NZ has a similar population to Scotland and, at least for the time being, still has engineers. And given that NZ has much more coastline or ocean to utlilise than Scotland has, would it be crazy to suggest that the billions being spent on roads and other infrastucture projects be (at least in some instances) re-allocated to something that would be of use in the future?
I’m not holding my breath.
As George Monbiot points out in the same newspaper, even given unprecedented levels of melting arctic ice and other climate indicators ‘going to pot’, it appears that those nice people we give decision making powers to just don’t ‘get it’.
Yes but we produce enough green power now it just has to be distributed where it’s needed, much like wealth and income so don’t expect anything from the hollowmen other than oil, roads. And privatisation.
We could do with harnessing NI wind for the bulk of population that lives there and the scots have been refining wind power for years now with retractable blades in high winds etc.
I’m not altogether sure how much of NZ’s primary power is re-newable. The figures I’ve seen range from 38% to 74%. I could guess that the 74% relates solely to electricity generation and the 38% relates to all energy use.
If that’s the case; that only 38% of all energy is renewable, then would the next step not be to enquire as to how much of the remaining 62% could or should be substituted or coverted to run from a renewable electrical source?
And I get that there are sometimes large losses because of transmission and so on. But how difficult would it be to figure out optimum size/location for off-shore wind farms? And how difficult would it be (in the case of household use) to reintroduce ‘ripple control’ whereby the likes of hot water cylinders only kick in during the early hours when demand is minimal and supply is ‘sloshing’, thereby reducing the total necessary generating capacity?
They’re gearing for Home based small wattage generation in Australia (Solar mainly).
I think it’s the best approach each house can add a little to the local supply.
You still need to have big generation capabilities, but it reduces the long haul distribution requirements somewhat.
38% probably includes transportation. If you got rid of almost every car and had an electric train system it would improve dramatically. Hard to imagine I know. But it shows how big a problem it is to address CO2 production.
It is a good idea and there are plenty of places around NZ where it could be done. The trouble is that the Greens would oppose it because a seagull or two might die. It could only happen with a strong National government. No progress would ever take place with the Greens in cabinet. That is the main reason that they have never been in cabinet and hopefully never will be.
Idiot. Last time I looked the Greens were the ones championing this idea. NACT are getting in the way.
Yes, and have been for a long time. Jeanette Fitzimmons (my emphasis):
With one exception, all wind farms proposed in New Zealand have sailed through the resource consent process. They have been much faster and easier to consent and build than hydro or thermal plant. West Wind may run into more opposition because of deeply held views about skylines and aesthetic values, but the Makara Guardians are entitled to their beliefs and their opinions.
Wind power is the best thing we can do for our electricity supply at this point in time. Compared with coal, gas, hydro or nuclear the impacts are low. But wind, even on a large scale, is not a silver bullet. Ultimately new generation, even renewable capacity, is only a part of the puzzle. To face up to the ecological constraints that these islands and the planet place upon us we must develop that other great resource – the energy we now waste. Sustainable energy doesn’t just mean making power smarter, it means using it smarter too.
Anti-Green propaganda :yawn:
Supporting Wind Energy
New Zealand has an excellent wind resource that can be used for pumping or electricity generation. Wind farms are quick to be commissioned, easily extended, and can be sited close to demand. The combination of wind and hydro is particularly beneficial as water can be stored in the lakes when the wind is blowing and used to generate power when it is not. Care is needed in choosing sites for wind farms, in order to respect cultural values such as iconic views. We want to see communities and energy companies agreeing about possible wind farm sites before specific proposals are developed. The Green Party will:
fisianal you give dumb a bad name if you want to be taken seriously get your facts right.
He usually just makes them up with a mixture of actual fact, a great deal of wishful thinking, and glued together with National party bullshit. It has a quite distinct odor. Sort of Murray McCully sleaze….
I’m not altogether sure how much of NZ’s primary power is re-newable.
In terms of electricity you are right, something in the order of 75% comes from hydro, wind and geothermal. … of which the latter remains the big undeveloped potential. Better still the areas of high heat flux are all in the NI where the demand is.
The rest of our energy use is roughly split between oil, coal and gas. The oil goes mainly into running our very substantial truck fleet and this is where a decent electric rail system could substitute a useful portion.
Another big chunk of coal and gas go into processing in our dairy and timber/pulp industries.
Good break down as to where oil goes over Auckland Transport Blog.
Yep but we won’t get that from this government as profits will go down especially while the generators are in government ownership.
I know this is even more central-planning than the interesting project you’ve brought up here Bill, but as I understand it, we could shut down Huntly right now, if NZers simply organised to shower or bathe at any other time than between 6 and 9am. And it would be soooo easy to reward households for when they don’t use hotwater (and much cheaper than building new forms of generation).
Personally I’m really looking forward to small communities organising to meet more an more of their own energy needs with community windmills and solar generation. I hope it will start to happen as affordable technology becomes readily available.
Domestic Hotwater is normally under what used to be called ripple control so can be shut down between 6 and 9 pm, and often is for line company purposes.
I dont know about “small communities”, what you describe can be achieved for each house. Scaling it up doesnt achieve much , except for wind power .
“it seems to me a fairly simple proposition to capture the energy of wave hydrolics within the vertical column of a windmill’s shaft.”
A quick calculation gives the following “36 kilowatts of power potential per meter of wave crest”
Thats potential power , then there is the actual power takeoff, many methods are available, but you could rule out using the vertical shaft of the windmill as its probably on the near surface thats of use
I think any change to a windmills hydrodynamics would come at a cost to the stability of the windmill. The lateral stresses involved in ocean windmills in conjunction with normal blade type wave turbines would increase construction costs because more overall materials would need to be used. The increased boundary layer would cause huge strain rates that would be difficult to engineer for. I’m not saying it’s impossible, and perhaps Point absorber wave generators would be viable, but finding an area where the elements are conducive to both wind and wave generation and the added cost from additional strengthening would make such a project prohibitive.
I notice Caithness is 58 degrees north longitude, while our southernmost city Invercargill is only 46.
The Auckland Islands, the closest of our Sub antartic islands is still only 50 degrees longitude
We would have to go further to Macquarie Island further south of Auckland Islands, but part of Australia !, to get to 54 degrees
Still short of being as far south as Caithness is north. This having an influence on the winds.
Campbell Island is a windy place, with gusts of over 96 kilometres per hour (50 kn; 60 mph) occurring on at least 100 days each year. – Wikipedia
Gulf stream makes it habitable for a very long time. I wonder if anyone has managed to calculate how much being ice free in the Arctic (and therefore reducing tbe salinity driver) sometime after 2030 will do to that environmental feature.
It depends on how close you think energy descent is (peak everything). Personally I think that the money, time and energy would be better put into transforming the building industry so that we build energy efficient houses as standard (and by energy efficiency I mean very energy efficient, not the nods towards efficiency we have now), retro fit existing houses, and learn how to live in smaller spaces. And at the same time focus on local power generation. Putting such a large generating capacity in one place is asking for trouble over the medium and long term – Chch has taught us the problems of centralisation.
Ideally we should be aiming to use less energy than we currently generate.
However you are of course right, the people with the power really don’t get it. I would like to see an analysis of the Scottish wind farm in the context of the information coming from CC scientists about the arctic circle and how this will affect weather cycles in the northern hemisphere. Are they considering worst case scenarios in their planning? Which ones? Likewise the GFC.
I don’t think they can face the worst case scenarios.
They’d much rather close their eyes and let the “Evil” run it’s course.
It’s not an either/or option as we can, and should, do both.
Well, that’s the beauty of wind generation – it’s best distributed over a wide area and connected into a smart grid. Some places will have wind, some won’t and so the average generation will be more constant. But it still won’t be local in many places as the best place to put it is out to sea.
I can’t understand why new houses don’t have, by design, solar panels on the roof. It makes sense. Even if just one to heat the water. Why wouldn’t you?
I often wonder this too. In the last 3 years there have been about 15 or 20 new houses built within half a kilometre of where I live.
One has a solar panel on the roof.
Fuck man, even just one fucking panel. Bizarre that it isn’t common practice.
It can take ten years for the investment on solar heating or power on a property to pay off. Most people look to sell and move on in five years and there’s no premium on a house-price for solar, so while it makes sense on every level except economic it’s the economic argument that wins out.
No, it’s on the economic level that it wins out, it’s on the financial level that it fails.
That costs too much, IMO it’s better leaving it to people to install when their finances support it.
What new houses should have in their design is the maximum possible north facing roof space at the right angle and the plumbing ready to install solar water heaters. It’s the installation costs that make it marginal economically and they can address that by making houses solar-ready.
Time of building is the most cost efficient time to get something like this installed.
Making solar mandatory will bring down production costs per panel making them cheaper.
That’s the only way, roof tiles have solar power built in now so it’s a case, like insulation/double glazing, of making it mandatory.
Rural approach, taken suburban, water catchment etc be more self sufficient.
The Germans are winding back 25% of peak demand gas etc as their loads has taken a hit through similar cross the board approach.
“That costs too much”
I think it’s more about priorities and perception. People could build smaller houses and use the savings to install solar. We live in larger houses than we used. We don’t have to, esp while heating is still relatively cheap.
“What new houses should have in their design is the maximum possible north facing roof space at the right angle and the plumbing ready to install solar water heaters”
And passive solar design as standard.
But, hey, here’s a good reason to build the wind farm
“It has already attracted controversy because it is opposed by American billionaire Donald Trump, who says the 200-metre-high turbines will spoil the view from his planned new golf course.”
It’s a great Idea.
Maintenance is the issue, and waves aren’t consistent enough to generate power from.
Tidal currents are though.
Immersed in salt water leads to other problems
What’s thw orst that can happen tot he environment if a wind farm fails in some major way? This alone makes it a better idea than say oil drilling or mining coal.
Hot Topic covered wind generation the other day:
So wind generation is picking up in the rest of the world but in NZ:
Yeah, still stuck in last century relying on dwindling and expensive (both monetarily and environmentally) resources (coal and oil).
Main problem with wind power is it’s expensive. If we really had a Government with nous we’d take advantage of this;
Prices are so low you could install a 100 megawatt solar power system for under $150million. It’s almost as cheap as hydro and uses less land than most dams. We could be doing China a favour while at the same time providing for our future. It won’t happen of course.
And the problem with solar is that it only works during the day meaning that you need to build huge, expensive, storage facilities. The best option is to use a combination of renewables.
BTW, the cost is coming down all the time.
We’ve got those. They’re called dams. Solar certainly won’t solve the peak demand problem but it can help alleviate it and there’s an opportunity there that comes once in a lifetime. They’re selling at below cost to keep their plants running in the hope that business will pick up again, it won’t last forever.
If we build too much high-cost wind & wave generation we’ll end up getting stuck with expensive power. It costs twice as much as hydro. Other countries are already facing that problem; they’re stuck with huge subsidies for the next 20yrs and their power supply infrastructure will be a substantial economic burden over the longer term. We can steal a march on them.
Actually, the problem is that they’re having private firms and investors build it and that puts the prices up. If the government built them itself, printed the money to do so and treated the expense as a sunk cost (i.e, you don’t get it back) then all that needs to be collected from the users would be enough to maintain the infrastructure. The private investors need to get both their money back and a profit which is why they’re after the government subsidies.
It’s worse than that. The governments are guaranteeing those private businesses a price for the power they’re generating, for periods of up to twenty years. Germany heavily promoted investment by private solar power generators & guaranteed the price they’d receive for power for the life of the setup. Solar cost a fortune when they did all that, more than five times as much as it is now, so the prices they’re receiving are correspondingly high and will be for another 20yrs.
UK and Aus have similar problems, as do others. They’ve committed themselves to really high power prices when the cost of alternate forms of generation will keep falling into the future. If NZ plays its cards right we could gain a substantial competitive advantage by not committing to expensive power.
You use excess solar power to pump water up into a dam. After the sun goes down, you can run hydro-generation off the stored water.
Or even just run a diversified energy generation system… wind when it’s blowing, solar when it’s shining, hydro when neither is happening. If there’s excess energy from those three sources, shut down a fossil energy plant for a while.
Yeah, they’re not insurmountable problems when the price is right. It’s another good illustration of why selling the power companies is a bad idea. Our power infrastructure needs to be centrally managed to get the best economic gains from it.
Rather than pump water up hill don’t use water while the solar is being generated.
WOW – finally worked out that it does NOT work after dark.
So, your answer to no wind after dark?
when many are home getting dinner, bathing the children; trying to keep warm?
I suggest you ask the Germans – their answer is…….
build more coal/gas fired power stations – aka forget about the Co2 bulldust and get real.
So, your answer to no wind after dark?
He was talking about solar, not wind. I guess you don’t get out during the night?
In the last comment I read of yours it appeared that you were cutting and pasting from a really stupid source without any real understanding. If you want to look even more stupid than your other remark make you appear, hen all you have to do is to just reply to things without reading the conversation. It drops you from being a blustering fool to just being an simple idiot.
It also moves you into my moderator sights as being a dumb troll… I find that dribbling on our site from those unable to think quite irritating – and it does nothing much for the debate. You have now had your warning. I suggest you read the policy.
“It also moves you into my moderator sights as being a dumb troll”
That’s funny. For a second you sounded like you actually had some real authority.
Plenty of wind after dark – I can hear it howling ATM. BTW, if you’d done a bit of reading before spouting off at the mouth you would have read and realised that I advocate using the full range of renewable options including wind, solar, hydro and geothermal meaning that there wouldn’t be a lack at any time. Also, if you’d bother to educate yourself you would have known that after dark is off peak time(PDF) for residential power use which is why businesses get it so damn cheaply then which means that after dark is the time when houses are more likely to have enough power.
Basically, you’re going round inventing horror stories through your ignorance.
Got proof of that assertion? Because I get this:
Doesn’t seem to be the actions of a country finding fault with wind generation.
Great Idea but NIMBY.
The advantage of building out to sea is that it can’t be NIMBY.
Good for the sea as well as they act as artificial reefs.
building it out in the sea is wasteful financially, energetically and resource-wise. Its highly short sighted. You will struggle to maintain those structures with sail ships and steamers.
Don’t see why.
Because anything in the middle of the sea is harder to maintain than if it is on terra firma. Whether its an oil well or wind farm.
Fewer NIMBY’s though.
The usual wind levels will be on the order of at least twice what they’d be on most land in NZ (there are a few wind funnels around that will be better. Often they’d be an order of magnitude better.
Most places that are really good wind areas also require roading capable of transporting some heavy equipment (these days most wind turbines are pretty big and heavy).
Usual kinds of trade offs.
The picture on this article gives a fairly good idea of scale and all we have to do is build them in a ship yard and float them out.
Micro and community generation builds far more resiliency for the future
At far greater cost.
Only if you are increasing power use and running a growth economy.
Nope, many small turbines will use more resources for the same power generated that you can get by building a few large ones. That excess use of resources is what we really want to prevent and, IMO, the main reason why power got centralised and became a monopoly in the first place. We don’t have to grow the economy – that’s only needed due to capitalism and our debt based monetary system.
Basically, we’re heading back to the same sort of physical economics that our grand parents and great grand parents understood but we’re doing it with a hell of a lot more knowledge about what we can do with those resources. Contrary to what Robert Atack, John Greer and several other people think we’re not about to lose our technological society.
Yeah so? Do you not understand the advantages?
Like the fact that it totally Tory proofs that power generation from being sold off as is happening with MRP, Meridian etc? Think strategically, man, not in terms of “cost efficiency”.
“Nope, many small turbines will use more resources for the same power generated that you can get by building a few large ones. ”
But only if you require 100 units of power generation.
If you require 20, then it’s cheaper than what you are proposing.
I’m basically saying powerdown now while we can and use our existing big generators to set up small, local, resilient power production while we still can. And that is dependent on using less power.
You are saying, lets carry on as we are (in terms of consumption*), but do it in a green way. I’m saying you can only do that with cheap oil and the global economy.
*although I’m not clear if you think we can keep increasing power demand, or if you have some strategy for keeping it at the level it is now. If it’s the former you have a problem, in that you have to keep building more and more power generators and you need a growth economy to do that.
“Contrary to what Robert Atack, John Greer and several other people think we’re not about to lose our technological society.”
So you say. They say different. I get wary any time some says “I know the truth about the future”.
I believe that time will prove that JMG is right and you are wrong on this count. There will continue to be elements of high technology in society for many years to come, but their pervasive availability and affordability will end. Many branches of technological and scientific knowledge will become useless as the tools and equipment to put them into use wear out and are not replaced. And a lot of knowledge about the ‘old fashioned’ way of getting things done is going to reappear.
Which makes me happy. The worst thing that could happen now would be for humans to have the power to carry on as normal.
The world will be much better off when we are put back in our place.
Tools that were built once can be built again. As I said, we’re not going to lose that knowledge and we have the resources here to build them.
Locally we’ll be able to build some things. But we won’t be able to build memory chips at 22nm and we won’t be able to build CPUs at 28nm. We’ll be able to build steam engines, but we won’t be able to construct the alloys needed for nuclear reactor containment.
Most likely the majority of the tech and industry we will end up relying upon will be from components which are cannabalised and salvaged – as predicted by JMG.
Of course we will. We may not be able to make them in NZ now but we will be able to do so in the near future. That tech isn’t going anywhere (unless we’re really, really stupid).
Why would we want to build either?
BTW, I’m sure you’ll find that the high tech alloys used in reactors today didn’t exist in the early 1940s.
You actually come across as someone who thinks we couldn’t do anything before the 1970s and that all the tech we had then sprung fully formed from the
head of Zeusground. As if we’re going to lose it all and not be able to redo it.
I loved this bit in wikipedia (my italics)
They’re starting to head out past the 40M-90M radius towards the 120M radius & 10MW for offshore. Everything you read indicates that they will only be smaller on because it gets really hard to assemble them there – not to mention there aren’t that many places that and to have a 50 story windmill in the middle of a plane or hill range.
The maintenance costs are pretty much the same for a 7.5MW on land as it is for a 10MW offshore (which are somewhere around the currently maximum designs). But those scales of economy run until the materials strength gets too dangerous. The accident record doesn’t show them being close yet.
Big turbines; small turbines yada yada yada
Wind doesn’t stack up as a genuine source of electrical power.
Read this about the reality in South Australia;
Not hype; not opinion; just reality…..
Tough but true………
““I have now confirmed that Acciona is not abating any GHG at all, nor has it ever nor will it during the life of the project,” Cumming wrote to Clark. “Can you please arrange for a full forensic carbon audit to be performed on Acciona Waubra, and when you also conclude that it is not abating GHG, make it repay the RECs (renewable energy certificates) and other subsidies it is claiming, and ensure Acciona is charged a carbon tax of approximately $15m that it owes.””
I’d say that was a load of bollocks quoted from a denialist website.
The idiot hasn’t proven anything at all except that if you leave coal fired power stations running they still emit CO2. The bit that he seems to be missing is that you have to take the coal fired stations out altogether which means enough wind power to replace them. Once that’s done we can all breath easier as the CO2 emissions go down.
The Danish report that is not peer reviewed and coming in for sharp criticism:
Harder != impossible
Getting to them – easy, nice leisurely sail.
Resources will be available – we’re not going to run out. We may be more limited but we ain’t going to run out.
Power availability – yeah, it’s power generation farm.
And, as lprent says, wind generation on the open sea will be much better than anything on land.
For the UK it is the best option – they have a huge demand for renewable energy and not much land in which to install wind farms. There is palpable antagonism towards them from James Lovelock to the ultra right denialists. So off shore it will have to be. Despite the increased costs.
There are one or two hopeful signs of communities in Scotland taking on board the “new” technology (actually wind mills have been around for yonks).
I’d rather have a wind turbine in my back yard than a nuclear power plant.
Why do you say that? Have you ever lived with a nuclear power plant in your back yard? You get this really healthy permanent green glow and you are never cold.
Bald, stooped, and with those interesting head splotches at age 40 like you? (That is as self-portrait right?)
You know – old age is pretty good at getting that effect as well. I think I prefer the cheap option of not paying subsidies for the wealthy to overcharge me for power. I’ll get that healthy aged look at age 80 naturally 🙂
Flattery will get you nowhere lprent …
OT trying to explain right wing policy again at last you’ve got it right!
I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.
too many people.
using everyfing up.
just like ants out of control.
they cant stop.
thats scientific marxist mATERIALISM FO YA!
“Main problem with wind power is it’s expensive.”
“It’s almost as cheap as hydro and uses less land than most dams.”
You are inferring a lot from the Telegraph report on the slowdown of a Solar Power Producer in China – the result of a world wide recession.
Hydro can be cheap – once it has been constructed – but construction costs are high, and it’s not always an acceptable option. There are also ongoing water rights issues to be considered – something that has been taken for granted in the past.
Your own link says it all. $70-$120 mWhr is 7-12c per unit. Meridian are selling Manapouri power to Tiwai at less than 5c per unit…. and making a profit from it. That makes wind twice as expensive as hydro.
Economically wind is a dog. It’s a good option for adding depth to the grid but it’s far too expensive as the mainstay. If you read the fine print in the reports on wind as an investment it’s predicated on the price of power continually increasing. I don’t want to keep paying more for power, do you?
I’m not inferring anything from the Telegraph article. I just used it as reference to explain why the current prices out of China are so low.
Where you make your fundamental error is that you assume that running cost = establishment cost. The Manapouri project – if it was ever to get of the ground today would be prohibitively expensive! Besides Hydro has almost no where else to go! Why else are the power providers looking at wind farms? Because they are the cheapest, quickest, and tie in with the EXISTING Hydro. A mix of Hydro Wind Solar and Geothermal will be the eventual mix for Electricity supply in this country. Others are not so fortunate as us and that is why they are building this enormous off shore farm. They have done the studies – the evidence is quite sound. Wind is the cheapest option by a long chaulk.
My error was in thinking I might get some intelligent discussion out of you.
That Scottish scheme has a depreciation cost alone of about 7cents per kilowatt/hr. Start putting in big schemes like that here in NZ and we can expect to end up paying up to 50% more for power than what we are now.
Obviously I hit a nerve!
As I hope is obvious, there is no need to install farms of the size of the Scottish one here – we have neither the population demands, nor are we dependent upon fossil fuel or nuclear for our electrical supply. BUT we have have ample Hydro already developed, AND we have the prospect of developing more geo-thermal as well. With the forecast demands for energy, Electricity Suppliers – who already have the established hydro – see the development of wind farms – such as Mill Creek wind farm in the Ohariu Valley north-west of Wellington as part of the solution. Mill Creek is a 60 megawatt farm of 26 turbines. The project will cost $169 million and is expected to be commissioned by mid-2014 – just 2 years from now. It will increase NZ’s installed wind capacity from 623 megawatts to 683 megawatts.
They have done the sums – wind is the best solution in the forseeable future.
Hit a nerve? No I just get bored with ignorant people who can’t think for themselves. You can’t do sums so you refer to some ephemeral ‘they’
The post of mine you thought fit to sneer at before your knees stopped jerking had a pretty simple message. The message was that the cost of solar had plummeted out of China to the extent where it was, right now, significantly cheaper than wind.
Now anyone with a modicum of intelligence would understand that in this situation the sums people did yesterday are no longer relevant today. A year ago solar used to cost more than wind. Right now it doesn’t. Today it costs a lot less. Tomorrow it might cost a lot more again. You’re obviously a little too thick to grasp that simple concept so I’ll leave you to your chest thumping.
Hubris is an unbecoming trait.
You are correct that costs of installation for various alternative energies vary dramatically from time to time – they also vary dramatically from country to country. But you are wrong to repeat the meme which is the constant theme of the “global warming denial church” that wind power is expensive.
There are numerous studies to show that statement to be wrong, I linked to an independent study to that effect, but you chose to take umbrage and refer to the depreciated cost of Manapouri Hydro – constructed in the 1960’s! A completely false comparison. I’ll leave it at that.
Having just returned from WA it is of interest to note that there, the state gov’t had an incentive scheme to promote the retrofitting of Solar electrical as well as Solar Water Heating. Such was the uptake – many Western Australians take Climate Change seriously – the effects are clearly noticable in a continuing drought and soaring summer temps – that the 3 year budget was exceeded in one year!
On the other hand, Solar in Scotland would pretty much be a waste of time, whereas wind will be far more reliable
Depreciated cost of Manapouri Hydro. WTF?
Are you so uninformed as to think that Manapouri isn’t regularly revalued to reflect current costings? Do you really think that the price they charge for Manapouri power is based on the cost of building it in the ’70s?
Did you learn basic maths at school? Manapouri generates 5000 gigawatt/hrs of power every year. That’s 5,000,000,000,000 watt/hrs. Now if they charge Tiwai the reported 4.5cents per kilowatt/hr that comes to how much annual revenue for Manapouri?
Hint; it’s between $229million and $230 million.
Manapouri cost $335 million to build plus another $100million spent over its life. $435million.
Meridian 2011 accounts asset register shows generation structures and plant at fair value of $7,297,059,000. That’s $7.2billion.
Depreciated cost of hydro. FFS. This site is like a fucking kindergarten at times. You sit around with your head up your arse denying what anyone in the power industry will confirm for you. Wind power is expensive.
Yet no one has been interested enough to put money down on your solar alternative. While industry is consistently puts more money down on wind, year after year after year. Which suggests you are missing some important factors in your calculations.
As a math and science graduate I find your insinuations as to my mathematical ability somewhat offensive.
Nowhere have you been able to argue convincingly that wind power is expensive – all you have done is to labour the point – that we all know anyway – that the installed hydro in this country is cheap. Big deal! The fact that overseas this is NOT the case seems to escape you. The further fact is that there is now little room for further developments of the Manapouri ilk, – the next best alternative in the short is – WIND!
But you understand that massive variability in costs is always considered as a negative in business cases?
So in this instance it is a major cross against solar. Further, the costs of installing, running and maintaining ~50MW wind installations in NZ is a matter of record. The expertise and experience is available on hand. The same cannot be said for solar installs of any real magnitude.
You seem to have left all these important factors out of consideration.
A year ago solar used to cost more than wind. Right now it doesn’t. Today it costs a lot less.
Kind of a pointless distinction. The cost is irrelevant and to raise it merely seems to show that you aren’t really thinking.
It is the return that counts. For instance putting a solar array plant in in Southland on the edge of the roaring 40’s is going to yield bugger all power especially in winter. However a wind turbine on the Southland plains with those bloody awful winds roaring up from Antarctica will yield a return.
The price of a particular power source is irrelevant. What is relevant is if it is profitable to put a particular power source in a particular place. Which is of course why you find wind turbines in northern europe and solar arrays in deserts around arabia.
You only had to ask lprent, a courtesy the ready critics here are a little short on. I already know how much power you get from solar arrays, they’ve only been making the things for fifty years. NIWA have been recording and keeping records on solar irradiation in NZ for decades, you can calculate quite accurately how much power you’ll get from solar panels in any given location in the country.
The multiple in the upper half of the Nth Island is around 1200 without tracking. That’s 1200watt/hrs generated annually per 1watt of panel. In the lower Sth island the multiple is about 1000. Most places hover around the 1100 mark.
A square kilometre of land receives 1 gigawatt of solar energy at peak time of the (cloudless) day. Install a 17% efficient panel and you can theoretically get a 170 megawatt plant on that 1 sq km. In practice it would probably be about 100 megawatts, need to angle the panels. That 100megawatt plant would generate 100-120 gigawatt/hrs annually just about anywhere in the country.
Karapiro dam generates about 525 gigawatt/hrs annually and the lake is 7.7 sq km.
If the numbers didn’t add up I wouldn’t have opened my trap. But that’s enough for me, I’ve had enough.
Your math is fine, academically.
Happy for someone to build a small 5MW site as a NZ proof of concept. Until that happens there is no way for a large solar installation to be considered anywhere near as reliable or dependable as a large wind installation.
Of course, a wind farm doesn’t necessarily ruin farming uses of the underlying land, whereas solar panels do.
edit – reading around I see you can expect PV efficiency to drop 2% in the first year of operation and about 0.7% per year after that. At 25 years expect about 20% loss in power production.
A 5MW site would require 5ha worth of PV panels.
Someone should give it a go. Same output as 7 or 8 wind turbines.
Hmmm I meant 12 or 14 turbines.
Go read lprent’s comment again. 5MW generation? 1 turbine.
And solar panels optimum placing is on houses – doesn’t use up any more land area that way.
I think that the key word in your comment was theoretically
Every place I have seen solar arrays being used commercially has been flat and dry. The main reason (apart from the lack of desert clouds) from what I understand is because the efficiency of the panels drops rapidly when the surfaces gets dirty. And worse when rain builds up films of dirt. So the operators clean them and they mostly do it manually because automatic mechanisms haven’t been particularly useful. Minimizing that operational cost tends to constrain the climates that arrays are set in.
And where are you going to find a square kilometer of land around nz that is relatively flat? The shade provided by the panels will compete with alternate uses of the sun – like growing grass or crops – which typically will bring a greater return. We tend to be a bit short on unproductive wastelands. About the only one I know offhand is right under a few ash sprouting volcanoes with their obvious disadvantages for a capital installation.
The other big advantage of wind compared to solar in nz is that it doesn’t significiantly interfere with other uses of the land. But I’d still prefer that the wind farms were offshore – because they’d be quite a lot more efficient and not interfere with land use at all.
If you have a look at planning for the dams, you’ll find that has always involved a lot of consideration of alternate productive uses of the land. Which is why we don’t have too many large hydro lakes covering a lot of high yielding farmland. They tend to be in steep river valleys.
The best bet for solar is in the urban wastelands – on rooftops substituting for household power requirements.
Hear, hear Macro @5:18pm
I have only come in on this debate so have not read all the comments. But let me tell you that the Meteorological Service was talking about wind farms (both land and sea) as long ago as the 1970s… and the huge potential for the future production of NZ power that it represented. Many of those old Met. soldier/scientists have since died, but they would be shocked to learn that we still haven’t taken full advantage of this enormous natural resource that we in NZ have in such abundance!
I put it down to ignorance, stupidity and a total lack of imagination and comprehension from successive NZ governments going back to the mid -1970s.
DH we are not making anything out of Manapouri we are subsidizing tiwai and have been from day one.
>even given unprecedented levels of melting arctic ice and other climate indicators ‘going to pot’<
The environment hasn't even come close to catching up with all the crap we have put into it, or the amount of clear felling etc, we are close to +2 above pretindustrial now, there are so many indicators showing how fucked it all is, there is no stopping this thing we are locked into extinction.
You can build a world wide 'eco friendly' power grid, giving everyone a power socket, and a light bulb … whatever, but it is not going to stop what is already in motion.
Even pretending a wind farm in every backyard is going to save our sorry arrases, you still have to build crap to use the power on, and the planet is about out of flat screen TVs, computers, and all the other crap we enjoy at the moment.
Get real people, the only thing we can do to lesson the suffering 'going forward' is not produce another person, everything else you do is futile.
You could kill yourself, but that will only reduce your suffering. Even doing a Hitler or Starlin would only reduce the #s in the rush towards the bottleneck by 1 years current increase.
Dream on folks, don't wake up reality is to scarey.
You can’t say that. The left will shit themselves.
I’ve been saying this for years… decrease in population…
Interesting. If it’s true, why wouldn’t everyone shit themselves?
Some us have a fairly firm hold on our continence
No, you either don’t believe the end is nigh, or comprehend what it means. Personally, I don’t believe the end is nigh.
Because the billions of bacteria in a full the petri dish are truly convinced that things have been going just fine. Until they all die out one generation later.
When the elasticised gin-trap that is your anus fails it’s time to rethink your options.
confused follow beliefs then take the lead
Robert, how are we going extinct, specifically? End of civ seems reasonably likely, but I don’t see how extinction would play out.
Robert’s exaggerating. 1B to 2B humans should be able to sustain themselves. Turn of 20th century levels.
I’d still like him to clarify. Maybe he means it literally: something like when we are no longer able to contain all the nukes on the planet we will all die of radiation poisoning. Something like that.
Guy McPherson says it best http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOq2A_SGTYA
I think we are in runaway climate change now, and there is nothing we can do about it, the planet might have been able to support 2 billion of us a thousand years or so ago, … maybe before the Romans turned the top of Africa in a desert? … but humans are just to destructive of the environment, even 2 billion peace and mung beans loving humans would fuck it up … again…. It is hypothetical to talk about what the world could support, clearly it can’t now.
How will it pan out? I haven’t a clue maybe like this
Financial meltdown (seems to be happening)
Riots and mayhem in the streets ?
Thousands starving to death, power cuts, nuke plants going ‘Fukushima’ (Fukushima never coming good) anyone one left alive inside of 10 -15 years will die of cancer, if they live that long.
The good old USA will no doubt keep its killing machine going for a few more years …
Shit is coming
If I watch 48 minutes of McPherson will he definitely say how we are going extinct?
Financial mayhem, riots, power cuts, starving in the streets… that’s all end of civ, not extinction. The nuclear one seems more feasible, but I still don’t see how it is going to kill everyone either directly or indirectly. Got some credible figures?
Yes, shit is coming, but we don’t know what kind.
Guy talks about temp predictions for 2050, ranging from +6 to +16 (taking into account feedback loops), ok so there might be a few people living on the south pole or in the Olduvi Gorge, the oceans will be toxic, the air will have radiation levels to die for.
What do you mean ‘credible figures’? Just do some research, listen to the likes of Guy, and that bloke from NASA ?
Here is a potential figure for ya, coal, oil, and gas were all created at different times in the paste, at these times nothing would have survived, except molluscs and bacteria, So we have dug up about 1/3 to 1/2 of the coal? 1/2 of the oil, and a good proportion of the natural gas, it kind of looks like we will dig up or pump a bit more coal, oil and gas …. before ‘End Civ’ So just on the back of my retina I worked out that we have chucked at least one period of total global extinction of most life forms into our environment in the passed 400 years, I think it is you that should produce the evidence ‘we’ are going to be able to survive this dinosaur extinction event, that is unraveling now.
And the reason we are not in a fiery hell now is the cushion of the deep oceans and the ice, and I guess a lot of global dimming, as far as species extinction goes (if we don’t nuke ourselves off the planet) it may take another 30 – 50 years? but lets say 100 years, in the end I will be right, ha ha I told ya so and all that…..
Sorry forgot to add one of those pesky feedback’s, as the ice goes the methane comes, they are talking ‘volcanoes’ of methane in Russia, shit could speed up exponentially, and probably is.
I’m not saying you are wrong, just that I want to know how it is conceived of if people are going to say we will be extinct soon. eg the +6 to +16 is an example you have just given.
By credible figures I meant analysis of the nuclear situation and whether that would mean all humans would die from cancer if the plants etc weren’t maintained.
Didn’t really follow the back of the retina scenario sorry.
Didn’t really follow the back of the retina scenario sorry.
Just saying, I worked it out in my head, that is – oil was made at a time of high global warming 55 million yeas ago and again 77 million years ago, at each time the planet was going through a mass extinction event (5 of them, we are #6), so adding the gas, and coal it equals at least one extinction events worth of crap is back in the atmosphere, so once the buffer of the ice and the particulates in the air blocking the sun, and the cooled oceans, then we will see temperatures going off the charts. WE should keep in mind that we will not stop pumping out more CO2 until we can’t, and there is tons of methane leaching from below the Arctic, as well as out of the tundra. we have way over stayed our time.
At this point, even if you don’t believe humans have anything to do with these extreme weather events which have grown progressively worse, the fact is that the climate is no longer falling within historic parameters from the records that have been kept over the last 116 years. An epic climate event is underway and there are 7 billion people in its path. Our leaders and the ‘captains’ of industry act as if they are powerless to do anything about it, much less alter our dependance on fossil fuels. In fact, we’re scrambling to the thawing Arctic to exploit more carbon-rich resources to cook. Nearly all scientists acknowledge that the release of CO2 from humankind’s burning of fossil fuels since the industrial revolution is the primary factor in today’s abnormal weather events. And recently, even former Koch-funded climate scientist deniers are changing their tune on the reality of anthropogenic climate change. It’s worth repeating the mind-blowing computation that we, the industrialized world, burn more than 100,000 tons of fossil fuel every hour. Certainly this has caused the acidification of the world’s oceans. A startling report from late last year stated:
In the past 5 years we have burned the carbon equivalent of every tree, animal and human, born or grown since Christ and we continue to burn the equivalent of 400 years worth of total planetary growth per year. That is what it takes to create 3 cubic kilometers of oil this is NOT including the masses of coal we burn each year.
interesting. yes. globally-much, much suffering to come
they will when the hippy’s come back with advanced technology.
I’m not as sure as Robert about the future doom, but it does interest me that most of the comments in this thread assume continued economic growth and increase in energy use as well as an increase in power generation being possible.
I thought more people here were with the idea of giving up the perpetual growth paradigm, not to mention peak everything putting us into energy descent.
Not into perpetual growth but I am into maintaining a reasonable living standard and to do that essentially means access to sustainable power.
The main point we differ on is to what extent we have a choice. I think it’s likely we won’t be able to choose to maintain a reasonable standard of living in the way you mean, and the precautionary principle suggests focussing on resiliency rather than hope.
IMO, we’ve already got resilience built in due to all the renewable power already built. Maintain that, build a bit more and throw out this failed economic system and maintaining the living standard we have now (minus cars and extreme wealth) becomes easy.
Big power stations aren’t resilient. Resiliency starts at the lowest tech (eg passive heating) and works its way up. The reason you start with the lowest tech is because it’s the easiest to maintain and/or replace under difficult conditions. So you use that as your baseline and then build on that. Give everyone a well built, insulated, passive house and you reduce their need for power enormously.
Redundancies are built in.
The bigger you go and the more centralised, the more vulnerable you are if something goes wrong.
I’d like to see a decent holistic analysis of the vulnerability of our power supply, but I’ll take a guess and suggest that these certainties: earthquakes/tidal wave (from the big one), peak oil, and climate change (ie increasing extreme weather including drought affecting hydro and storms taking out infrastructure) all make us very vulnerable currently. We’ve seen this in small ways already eg how easy it is to lose power to a town in a bad storm.
We can handle that for the most part at the moment, but Chch has shown us that we are already not resilient to major events. And events like Chch are likely to happen more often. Not quakes (although the alpine shift is likely, and can we deal with another Chch only on a much bigger scale? Imagine if it was Wellington next time), but the weather issues, and peak everything will be increasing in frequency. Each time the shit hits the fan it is harder to recover if the infrastructure is big and unwieldy and centralised. Or out at sea.
And I haven’t even got to economics yet.
Why not use the base line we already have rather than going back five centuries?
As I said up thread, wind is inherently decentralised. So is solar.
What you’re saying doesn’t actually make any sense. We already have the big generators in the hydros. Each wind generator itself is actually small that’s why each farm has so many of them.
No I’m not. I’m saying that we can keep the same living standard while also powering down and decreasing consumption. We can keep computers, cell phones and pads, education and our health service. We can’t keep cars as they’re far too inefficient. Forget the OE – that’s gone burger. Cities will become small and compact rather than the industrial sprawl that we have now. Farms will be centred around cities to supply those cities – no more exporting and international trade (which will be awesome for our natural environment as native forests get replanted).
Not bad, but not good enough IMO. Resiliency could be further improved by increasing the level of localisation and distribution.
Offshore wind farms will produce more resiliency than localisation as it spreads out the wind generating so that there will almost always be some generating power (It’s unlikely that all of NZ will be without wind – especially offshore which we happen to have lots of). Throw in 1KW of roof top solar on every house (that’s something like 1.5GW) all made from NZ resources and we will never have any issues with power and we will never lose that capability.
It’ll have to be all done through a national smart grid so the whole lot can be properly switched (another reason why private providers are bad for power generation) but it will be better than what will be possible with small, localised generation.
I tend to disagree that harder to maintain, less reliable, comparatively less proven and certainly more expensive installations can be considered “more resilient”.
They’re no less proven than standard wind turbines because they are standard wind turbines. They’ll be about as hard to maintain as land based ones as well only being slightly harder to get to but even that comes with some fairly significant benefits:
1.) Building them won’t damage the environment as much as building land based ones (all those roads that you won’t need)
2.) They’ll act as artificial reefs which can’t be fished and so act as breeding grounds for our fisheries
And I doubt if they’ll be that much more expensive (if at all) – all the expense of roads being completely removed.
Thanks to Bill a great post. Releasing an avalanche of ideas and suggestions.
All that is missing is the political will to harness all this creative talent and enthusiasm.
So what is it with our political leaders, those with the power to enact policy? Are they cowards, corrupt, or ignorant?
Are they frightened of the fossil fuel lobby?
Are they bought off?
Are they poorly advised, making them ignorant of the danger?
Ummmm, as I already explained, the pollies are pandering to the expectations of the comfortable middle class, and the comfortable middle class are not going to accept any talk of “hard times”, “cutting back”, “austerity” or the “end of growth”…unless someone else bears the brunt of it, and they can carry along as previously, of course.
Labour Party (for instance) started campaigning for serious curbs on CO2 emissions.
SERIOUS curbs, what would they look like and how serious would they need to be?
I suggest they would need to be so serious that they would wipe out the middle class (or reduce it down to just a few people), we would need around 80% unemployment … if you are serious about being serious.
If on the other hand you want to maintain the ‘middle class’ …. along with their Kiwi Saver funds etc, at least by the short sighted view most politicians and voters have, then it behooves us to maintain the statuesque for as long as we can … which is exactly how ALL political parties are acting.
As 99% of the voters vote with their wallets in mind … that is democracy after all, and as all politicians are aware that most voters concerns (short term) are selfish, really there is no hope.
I keep trying to point out humans are trash and it is very much garbage in garbage out, politicians are just the flotsam and jetsam of the trash that we are.
As far as the clowns that push Greenpeace, 350.org etc ….. they are just another lot of fools tits deep in denial, even Captain Paul Watson would agree that Greenpeace is very much a business as usual organization, just pretending to do good, while running a profitable bullshit game.
I guess you didn’t see that little blue flame ? … It is called fossil fuel ie burnt dead shit from millions of years ago.
Looked like alcohol to me. Something I could do with, after all the cynical, misanthropic, nihilistic defeatism on this thread.
“With out the support of the “middle class” none of the above groups would even exist.”
That’s true. But if you ask them to change their middle class lives and lower their standard of living (which is what serious solutions to CC require) you will find that the number of people willing to do so and who vote Labour is too small for Labour to take into account.
The reason that the middle classes have the most responsibility in this is not because they are any more morally bankrupt that other classes. It’s because they have the numbers and the money and the power to do something substantial, but they don’t. They join F and B and Greenpeace, make some donations, do some leaflet drops, support 360 etc, and think that is all they have to do. What they really need to do is (a) lower their standard of living* and (b) get radical enough to demand change.
Politicians remain very acutely aware of the wishes of the comfortable middle class swing voter.
You missed the point. By a country mile.
The comfortable middle class has had to give up zip to support those groups. Not their twice a year overseas holidays. Not their heatpumps keeping their homes a nice 20 deg C all year round. Not their 2 (or 3) car daily lifestyles. Not their consumer electronics gadgets nor their preferred, overseas sourced food and drink.
Meh. Reality will make the final call. However I believe that what I have outlined is a closer representation to it than what you have outlined.
*I see Weka made many similar points…
As history shows us the human race excels when faced with serious adversity
The problem is the adversity hasn’t actualy hit everyone as yet, when those hippie scientists are rowing to work, or breathing through a gas mask, then we might see some real solutions.
Of course the human race is likely to well culled by that point, so the problem will be manageable once again, the survivors can berate all those who are dead for being morons, feel a bit better cause “It aint my fault” and life will continue.
The political class is insulated from reality by their privilege. No useful decisions can be expected from them…
Crazy idea. No politician should have more than $750 pw in hand to live on while they are in Parliament.
Good luck getting them to vote that through the house CV.
Is this by any chance happening in or around the ‘North Sea’?
I am only asking, as Scotland has a coast there, and also on the Atlantic side.
Now was it not Phil Heatley – a minister of sorts, supposedly in charge of energy and planning for extraction and more, who suggested the North Sea is just ideal proof that “deep sea oil drilling” is “safe”?
He did so weeks ago in a ‘The Nation” interview!
The North Sea is anything but “deep sea”, and generally rather “shallow”.
But then again, we have “ministers” smartly telling us lies a thousand times, which will be proved “true”, simply due to the repetitive weight of convincing.
Actually there are a few such mega project taking off in Scandinavia, Germany, Holland, the UK and so forth, while NZ’s government is going retro into more fossil fuel exploration and to export this to value adding refineries in Asia and Australia, maybe leaving a few “droppings” in the form of “royalties” for the government and thus national budget.
At the same time more than half of NZers do in winter freeze in uninsulated homes and having exorbitant rents to pay, for that “privilege”.
Progress for sure, aye?
I wonder what will happen when the arctic ice has melted and the gulf stream no longer warms western europe as has been projected. will the sea still be as useful place as opposed to off the scale raging stormed place un suitable for anything?
Well, you asked the question “A good idea”?
It’s a bloody crap idea………
[lprent: duplicated comment. Adding you to auto-moderation as being a probable troll. Read my comment. ]
I like the ideal that we can make wind turbines from the power given off by wind turbines and still have a good yield. I am yet to be convinced (I do want to be).